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The 

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of Walter Harding 



PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 




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PART OF 
A MAN'S LIFE 

BY 

THOMAS WENTWORTH 
HIGGINSON 



" The uttered part of a man's life, let us always repeat, 
bears to the unuttered, unconscious part a small un- 
known proportion. He himself never knows it, much 
less do others." — Carlyle's Essay on Scott. 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

, 1906 



COPYRIGHT 1905 BY THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

Published October iqoj 



SECOND IMPRESSION 



CONTENTS 

I. The Sunny Side of the Transcendental Period . I 

II. The Child and his Dreams .... 26 

III. English and American Cousins . . . .48 

IV. American Audiences 73 

V. The Aristocracy of the Dollar . . . . 93 

VI. " Intensely Human " 114 

VII. Letters of Mark 139 

VIII. Books Unread 155 

IX. Butterflies in Poetry 179 

X. Wordsworthshire 203 

XI. The Close of the Victorian Epoch .... 226 
XII. Una Hawthorne 249 

XIII. History in Easy Lessons 271 

XIV. The Cowardice of Culture 288 

Index 305 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



Thomas Wentworth Higginson . . Frontispiece 
Facsimile of Fragment of Manuscript of Carlyle's French 

Revolution, and Autograph 2 

Thomas Carlyle 6 

Facsimile of Letter from Edward Everett . . .10 

Facsimile of Letter from Henry D. Thoreau . . 16 

Matthew Arnold 20 

Facsimile of Letter from Matthew Arnold ... 22 
Facsimile of Letter from Robert Browning . . .24 

Philosophers , 28 

A Consolation Entertainment . . .... .48 

James Anthony Froude ....... 50 

Facsimile of Letter from James Anthony Froude . . 56 
Facsimile of Letter from John Greenleaf Whittier . $% 

Henry Ward Beecher . 80 

Facsimile of Letter from Charles Sumner ... 82 

Theodore Parker 104 

Mordecai Receipt . . 120 

Facsimile of Letter from Wendell Phillips . . .128 
Facsimile of Letter from J. H. Lane .... 130 
Facsimile of Letter from William Brunson . . .152 
Facsimile of Letter from Edward Fitzgerald . . 164 



viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Victor Hugo 182 

Poets of the Present Day 212 

Facsimile of Letter from Sainte-Beuve .... 226 
Facsimile of Letter from Stepniak .... 228 

Facsimile of Letter from Darwin . . . . . 230 
Facsimile of Letter from Lord Houghton . . .232 

The Trump Card 236 

Una Hawthorne ........ 254 

Charles Robert Darwin . . . . . . 270 

Facsimile of Letter from Francis Parkman . . . 286 
Facsimile of Letter from James Russell Lowell . . 300 
Colonel George E. Waring 302 



PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 



I 

THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE 

TRANSCENDENTAL 

PERIOD 

IT happened to me once to be summoned on 
short notice to the house of a most agree- 
able neighbor, then Dean of the Episcopal The- 
ological School at Cambridge, to assist in en- 
tertaining two English guests unexpectedly 
arrived. These guests were a husband and 
wife, both authors, and visiting this country 
for the first time. They proved to belong to 
that class of British travelers who, as the genial 
Longfellow used to say, come hither, not so 
much to obtain information about America, as 
to communicate it. We were scarcely seated 
at table when the little lady — for they were 
both very small in person — looked up at me 
confidingly and said, " Don't you think it 
rather a pity that all the really interesting 
Americans seem to be dead ? " It was difficult 
for a living man to maintain any resistance 
against a conclusion so decisive, and all I re- 
member is that our talk became a series of 



PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 



obituaries. To those might now be added, were 
it needful, similar memorials of my fair ques- 
tioner, of her husband, and of our gracious host 
himself, since these also have passed away. 
And why should such remembrances be sad, 
one may well ask, if they are brought together 
in a sunny spirit, and have for their motto, 
not the mournfulness of old-time epitaphs, but 
rather the fine outburst of Whitman's brief 
song of parting, " Joy, Shipmate, Joy." Even 
the gloomy Carlyle had to admit that " there 
is no life of a man faithfully recorded, but is a 
heroic poem of its sort, rhymed or unrhymed." 

Those who followed the chorus of affection- 
ate praise which surrounded the celebration of 
Emerson's hundredth birthday must have felt 
very keenly its unlikeness to the ever renew- 
ing tumult of discussion around the grave of 
Carlyle. The difference was in great measure 
the penalty of temperament, or in Emerson's 
case, its reward. No one recognized this more 
fully than Carlyle himself when he said sadly 
to me, " Ah ! the dear Emerson ! He thinks that 
everybody in the world is as good as himself ; " 
just as he had said to Longfellow, years before, 
that Emerson's first visit to him was "like the 
visit of an angel." It is clear that the whole 
atmosphere of Emerson's memory breathes 



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THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 3 

sunshine, but it gradually appears, in tracing it 
farther, that much of this traditional atmos- 
phere extends — at least for those who lived 
through it and perhaps for their children also 
— over the whole intellectual period of which 
Emerson was the best representative. This 
period is now usually and doubtless vaguely 
known in America as the period of Transcen- 
dentalism. Unsatisfying as the word, when 
thus applied, must be, it may yet be employed 
for want of a better, without entering too pro- 
foundly into its source or its services. Origi- 
nally a philosophic term, it can be used for the 
present to indicate a period. 

The word " Transcendentalism " was appar- 
ently first employed by the leader among mod- 
ern German philosophers, Immanuel Kant, 
to designate the intuitive method of reaching 
truth, as apart from the experimental or sensa- 
tional method of Locke, which had held its own 
so stoutly. Kant died in 1804, but the word was 
handed on, so modified and, we might perhaps 
say, battered by later German thinkers, that it 
would now be useless to attempt to employ 
it further than as a landmark or guidepost, 
as it will be used here. If we wish to fix the 
birth-time of the American period bearing 
that name, we may place it somewhere near 
the publication of Emerson's " Nature " (1836), 



PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 



or the appearance of the first number of " The 
Dial" (July, 1840), or the formation of the 
" Brook Farm Institute," or " Community " as 
it was oftenest called, near Boston (1841). 
The special interest of this household for the 
world was not so much because it gave a new 
roof -tree for a little domestic experiment, — 
the Moravians and Shakers had long before 
done that, — but rather because it offered also 
an atmosphere of freedom. 

It visibly relaxed restraint, suggested a sub- 
stitute for the strict Puritan tradition, brought 
together the most open and hopeful minds of 
the community, sometimes uniting with them 
the fanatics, still oftener the do-nothings ; giv- 
ing conservatives and radicals alike something 
to talk about. Those whose names are now 
oftenest associated with the Brook Farm enter- 
prise, as Emerson, Alcott, Margaret Fuller 
Ossoli, and William Henry Channing, never 
actually belonged to it ; while its most noted 
members, as Hawthorne and George William 
Curtis, were there only during the first year. 
The only narrator who has written his personal 
remembrances of it was but a second-year 
member; and its more systematic historian, 
Mr. Lindsay Swift, says justly of it, " There was 
a distinct beginning, a fairly coherent progress, 
but a vague termination." He also touches the 



THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 5 

keynote of the whole history when he says in 
his preface, " It is more than fifty years since 
the last dweller in that pleasant domain turned 
his reluctant steps away from its noble illu- 
sions, and toward the stress of realities ; but 
from no one of this gracious company has ever 
come the admission that Brook Farm was a 
failure." Surely this is much to say. 

In going still farther back for the historic 
origins of American transcendentalism, we 
must recognize the earlier influence of Burns, 
Coleridge, and Wordsworth, as laying the 
foundations for all this new atmosphere ol 
thought and living. This is a fact of much 
interest as compared with the first reception 
of all these poets in their own country. The 
"London Monthly Review " — the leading crit- 
ical magazine in England before the " Edin- 
burgh Review" appeared — pronounced Burns's 
first volume to be " disgusting," and " written 
in an unknown tongue," the editor adding his 
own partial version of " The Cotter's Saturday 
Night " translated into the English language ! 
The same editor pronounced Coleridge's " An- 
cient Mariner " " the strangest story of a cock 
and bull that we ever saw on paper ... a 
rhapsody of unintelligible wildness and inco- 
herence, of which we do not perceive the drift," 
while " Christabel " was described by him as 



PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 



"rude, unfeatured stuff." Even of Wordsworth's 
" Tintern Abbey " the same critic complains 
that it is " tinctured with gloomy, narrow, and 
unsociable ideas of seclusion from the com- 
merce of the world ; " and yet on turning the 
pages of Dennie's "Portfolio" published in Phil- 
adelphia simultaneously with the English peri- 
odical just quoted (1786), we find these very 
poets and, indeed, these identical poems hailed 
as the opening of a new intellectual era. Such, 
indeed, it was, but an era heralded in America 
with an eagerness, cordiality, and, above all, 
a cheerfulness such as might well belong to a 
fresher and more youthful life. 

Then followed Carlyle's great influence 
through his " Sartor Resartus," whose Ameri- 
can editor, Charles Stearns Wheeler, I can well 
remember to have watched with timid rever- 
ence at the Boston Athenaeum Library as he 
transcribed that exciting work from the pages 
of " Fraser's Magazine," for its first reprint- 
ing in book form. Still more must be recalled 
the influence of Kant and Fichte, Hegel and 
Schleiermacher, with the more transient eclec- 
tic philosophy of the Frenchmen Cousin and 
Jouffroy, whose books were translated from 
the French and used for a time as text-books 
in Harvard College and elsewhere, as early 
as 1839. The German poets also were just 




THOMAS CARLYLE 



THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 7 

being translated, though of course in a frag- 
mentary way, in America, especially Goethe, 
Schiller, and even Heine ; and the poetic writ- 
ings of Hoffmann, Novalis, Jean Paul Richter, 
and others lent their influence, first under the 
lead of Carlyle, and afterwards through di- 
rect American translators, the Rev. Charles 
T. Brooks and Mrs. Eliza Buckminster Lee. 
Many of these poetic translations appeared in 
" The Dial," and the prose versions in the se- 
ries of volumes, fourteen in all, entitled " Speci- 
mens of Foreign Standard Literature," planned 
and edited by George Ripley. To him especial 
attention should be given, since if the sunny 
atmosphere of the period was personally 
incarnated in any one, it was undoubtedly in 
him. 

George Ripley was the single consummate 
type, during that period, of that rarest of com- 
binations, the natural scholar and the cheery 
good fellow. Evidence of the former quality 
might be found in the catalogue, had it only 
been preserved, of his library sold in aid of the 
organization of Brook Farm, and universally 
recognized as the best German library then 
to be found in America; while the clearest 
tribute to the other trait was the universal 
regret said to have been felt among his cleri- 
cal brethren at the loss of the gayest compan- 



PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 



ion and best story-teller in their ranks. He it 
was who, with Emerson, Hedge, and George 
Putnam, called together the first meeting 
of "what was named in derision the Tran- 
scendental Club," as Hedge writes ; and he it 
was who resigned his clerical charge in 1840, 
with a view to applying to some form of action 
the newer and ampler views of life. 

Even Dr. Channing, then the intellectual 
leader of Boston, had some conference with 
Ripley as to whether it would be possible to 
bring cultivated and thoughtful people together 
and make a society that deserved the name. 
Mr. Swift in his admirable book on " Brook 
Farm " reminds us that there was a consulta- 
tion on this subject at the house of Dr. John 
C. Warren, then the leading physician of Bos- 
ton, which ended "with an oyster supper, 
crowned by excellent wines." Undoubtedly, 
on that occasion, George Ripley told his best 
stories and laughed his heartiest laugh. But 
we may be sure that his jubilant cheeriness 
was no less when he turned his back on all 
this and left the flesh-pots of Egypt for a din- 
ner of herbs at Brook Farm. 

There is something very interesting and not 
wholly accidental in the way in which a Ger- 
man influence was thus early making itself felt 
in this country and contributing, as a matter 



THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 9 

of course, to its sunshine. This clearly came 
from a double influence, the appearance in 
America of a number of highly educated Ger- 
mans, of whom Lieber, Follen, and Beck were 
types, who were driven from their country by 
political uproar about 1825 ; and, on the other 
hand, the return of a small number of highly 
educated Americans, at a period a little earlier, 
who had studied at the German universities. 
The most conspicuous among these men were 
Edward Everett, George Ticknor, George Ban- 
croft, and Joseph Green Cogswell, the latter 
being the organizer of our first great American 
library, the Astor. Their experience and in- 
fluence had a value quite inestimable, and the 
process of their training is shown unmistakably 
in a remarkable series of letters from them to 
my father, then steward of Harvard College, 
and in some respects their sponsor; letters 
published by myself in the " Harvard Grad- 
uates' Magazine" for September, 1897. ^ n 
one of these letters, the cool and clear-headed 
Everett, going from the Continent to inspect 
the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, ex- 
pressed the opinion that America had at that 
date (18 1 9) "nothing to learn from England 
[in regard to university methods], but every- 
thing to learn from Germany," and I have been 
more than once assured by English scholars, 



io PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

on quoting to them the passage, that the re- 
mark was, at the period indicated, absolutely 
true. It is, however, also true that Mr. Everett 
himself practically recognized a subsequent 
change in conditions, when he sent his own 
son, forty years later, to an English and not to 
a German university. 

It must not be supposed that the " Disci- 
ples of the Newness," as they liked to call 
themselves, were allowed to go on their way 
unchecked. Professor Bowen of Harvard, 
always pungent and often tart, followed them 
up vigorously in the " North American," as did 
Professor Felton more mildly. Yet there was 
always something behind the cloud, an influ- 
ence which revived these victims like some 
cloud-concealed goddess in Homer ; and how- 
ever severe the attacks may have been, they 
were usually the fruit of narrowness, not of 
mere malice. They were rarely mixed with 
merely personal bitterness, as were the contests 
of the same period, under Poe's influence, 
among New York men of letters ; nor were 
they so much entangled with money-quarrels 
as those, since money was a thing with which 
New England students had little to do. No 
one among them, however, fared so miserably, 
in financial negotiations, as did poor Cornelius 
Mathews in New York, who, after his " Big 



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THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD n 

Abel and the Little Manhattan " had been an- 
nounced as a forthcoming volume of a series, 
was offered by the repentant publishers $100 
to allow them to withdraw the offer and leave 
the book unpublished, but who refused the 
request. The " North American Review " — 
then a Boston periodical — settled the case of 
this unfortunate author tersely by saying, " Mr. 
Mathews has shown a marvelous skill in fail- 
ing, each failure being more complete than the 
last." Horace Greeley hit his merely political 
opponents as hard as this, but the New York 
" Tribune," under Margaret Fuller's influence, 
kept clear of bitter personalities in literature, 
something which she had not always quite done 
in " The Dial." 

It must be remembered that the Transcen- 
dentalists never, in the early days, called them- 
selves by that name. Their most ambitious 
title was, as has been said, that of Disciples 
of the Newness. It must also be remembered 
that this Newness itself was in some degree a 
reversion to the old, as in Margaret Fuller's 
case it came from a learned father who brought 
her up in direct inheritance of whatever was 
ancient. She was, by her own statement, early 
" placed in a garden with a great pile of books 
before her." She began to read Latin before 
she read English. The Greek and Roman 



12 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

deities were absolutely real to her, and she 
prayed, " O God, if thou art Jupiter ; " or else to 
Bacchus for a bunch of grapes. When she was 
old enough to think about Christianity, she 
cried out for her dear old Greek and Roman 
gods. It was a long time, her friend Mrs. Dall 
tells us, " before she could see the deeper spir- 
ituality of the Christian tradition." Hence it 
is, perhaps, that we see rather less of sunshine 
in her than in the other Transcendentalists. 

For the unbelieving world outside, it must be 
remembered, the Transcendental movement at 
least contributed some such sunshine through 
the very sarcasms it excited; as when Mrs. 
Russell, Father Taylor's brilliant daughter, 
did not flinch from defining the Transcenden- 
talists as " a race who dove into the infinite, 
soared into the illimitable, and never paid cash ; " 
or when Carlyle described Ripley, who had 
called on him in England, as " a Socinian minis- 
ter, who had left the pulpit to reform the world 
by cultivating onions." Emerson compared 
Brook Farm to " a French Revolution in small," 
and a certain meeting of the Transcendental 
Club to "going to heaven in a swing." All 
the peculiarities of Brook Farm, we may be 
sure, were reported without diminution in the 
gossip of Boston society, even the jokes of the 
young people made upon themselves being 



THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 13 

taken seriously in the world outside ; as when 
they asked at the dinner-table, " Is the butter 
within the sphere of your influence ? " or pro- 
posed that a pie should be cut " from the centre 
to the periphery." There being more young 
men than young women, at first, an unusual 
share of household duties, moreover, fell upon 
the stronger sex. They helped in the laundry, 
brought water from the pump, prepared vege- 
tables in the barn. The graceful George Wil- 
liam Curtis trimmed lamps, and the manly and 
eminently practical Charles Dana organized a 
band of " griddle-cake servitors," composed of 
" four of the most elegant youths of the com- 
munity." 

There was also a Brook Farm legend that 
one of the younger members or pupils con- 
fessed his passion while helping his sweetheart 
to wash dishes ; and Emerson is the authority 
for stating that as the men danced in the even- 
ing, clothespins sometimes dropped from their 
pockets. Hawthorne wrote to his sister, not 
without sarcasm, " The whole fraternity eat to- 
gether, and such a delectable way of life has 
never been seen on earth since the days of the 
early Christians. We get up at half-past six, 
dine at half-past twelve, and go to bed at nine." 
An element of moral protest also entered into 
the actual work of the more serious members. 



14 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

Thus Mr. Ripley said to Theodore Parker of 
John Dwight, afterwards eminent as a musical 
critic, " There is your accomplished friend ; he 
would hoe corn all Sunday if I would let him, 
but all Massachusetts could not make him 
do it on Monday." Rumor adds that Parker 
replied, " It is good to know that he wants to 
hoe corn any day in the week." The question is 
not how far these details were based on fact or 
were the fruit of fancy, but the immediate point 
is that they materially aided in keeping up the 
spirits of the unbelieving world outside. 

It is possible that those seemingly vague and 
dreamy times might have communicated to 
those reared in them too passive and negative 
a character but for the perpetual tonic of the 
anti-slavery movement, which was constantly 
entangling itself with all merely socialistic dis- 
cussion. At every crisis brought on by this last 
problem it turned out that mere moral purpose 
might impart to these pacific social reform- 
ers a placid courage which rose on occasion 
to daring. Thus it took years to appreciate 
the most typical of these men, Bronson Alcott. 
The quality that was at first rather exasper- 
ating in him became ultimately his greatest 
charm : the manner in which this idealist threw 
himself on the Universal Powers and left his 
life to be assigned by them. That life had 



THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 15 

seemed at first as helpless and unpromising 
as the attitude of the little Italian child who, 
having stopped at a certain door near Boston 
and received breakfast for sweet charity's sake, 
was found sitting placidly on the doorstep 
two hours later, and being asked why she had 
not gone away replied serenely, " What for go 
away ? Plenty time go away ! " The wide uni- 
verse was to Alcott a similarly vast and tran- 
quil scene. He had, as was said of his English 
friend Greaves, "a copious peacefulness." It 
was easy enough to see this in a humorous 
light, but when in later years, after those who 
had broken down the Boston Court House 
door for the rescue of Anthony Burns had been 
driven out, and the open doorway was left bare, 
it was Alcott who walked unarmed up the 
empty steps, calmly asking, " Why are we not 
within ? " and on finding himself unsupported, 
turned back slowly, then walked placidly down 
again, he and his familiar cane, without visible 
disturbance of mind. It has lately come to 
light, since the publication of the memoirs 
of Daniel Ricketson, that Alcott afterwards 
offered to be one of a party for the rescue of 
Captain John Brown. It was still the same 
Alcott, only that he watched the slowly form- 
ing lines of his horoscope, and found them, 
in Emerson's phrase, " come full circle." In a 



16 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

similar way Thoreau, after all his seeming 
theories of self-absorption, ranged himself on 
the side of John Brown as placidly as if he 
were going for huckleberries. 

Yet the effect of Transcendentalism on cer- 
tain characters, a minority of its adherents, was 
seemingly disastrous; though the older we 
grow, the harder it is to be sure that we know 
all the keys to individual character. The free- 
dom that belonged to the period, the sunny 
atmosphere of existence, doubtless made some 
men indolent, like children of the tropics. 
Some went abroad and lived in Europe, and 
were rarely heard from ; others dwelt at home, 
and achieved nothing; while others, on the 
contrary, had the most laborious and exact- 
ing careers. Others led lives morally wasted, 
whether by the mere letting loose of a surge 
of passion ill restrained, or by that terrible 
impulse of curiosity which causes more than 
half the sins of each growing generation, and 
yet is so hard to distinguish from the heroic 
search after knowledge. I can think of men 
among those bred in that period, and seem- 
ingly under its full influence, who longed to 
know the worst of life and knew it, and paid 
dearly for their knowledge ; and their kindred 
paid more dearly still. Others might be named 
who, without ever yielding, so far as I know 







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THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 17 

or guess, to a single sensual or worldly sin, yet 
developed temperaments so absolutely wayward 
that it became necessary, in the judgment of 
all who knew the facts, for their wives and 
children to leave them and stay apart, so that 
these men died in old age without seeing the 
faces of their own grandchildren. Others van- 
ished, and are to this day untraced ; and yet 
all these were but a handful compared with 
that majority which remained true to early 
dreams, while the world called them erratic, 
and the church pronounced them unredeemed, 
or, in Shakespeare's phrase, " unhousel'd, dis- 
appointed, unaneled." 

It must be remembered also that, in that 
period of general seething, all other reforma- 
tory movements alternated with efforts of the 
socialists and joined with them to keep up the 
spirits of the Community. The anti-slavery 
meetings, for instance, mingled sorrow with 
joy and sometimes even with levity. Nowhere 
in all the modern world could have been seen 
more strikingly grouped the various dramatis 
personae of a great impending social change 
than on the platform of some large hall, rilled 
with Abolitionists. There sat Garrison in the 
centre, his very attitude showing the serene 
immovableness of his mind, and around him 
usually two or three venerable Quaker Vice- 



18 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

Presidents, always speechless, while in them- 
selves constituting an inexorable though un- 
wearied audience. Grouped among them were 
" devout women, not a few," as the Scripture 
has it, and fiery orators brought together from 
different fields of action, where they had been 
alternately starved, frozen, or mobbed, accord- 
ing to the various methods adopted by unbe- 
lieving rural scoffers. Mingled with these were 
a few city delegates, the most high-bred men 
and women in appearance to be found in Bos- 
ton, such as Wendell Phillips, Edmund Quincy, 
and Mrs. Chapman. Among these, strangest 
of all, were the living texts for all the impend- 
ing eloquence of the platform : the fugitive 
slaves, black or mulatto or sometimes indistin- 
guishably white, perhaps just landed from their 
concealment on Southern packet ships, or in 
covert corners of freight cars. There might be 
Henry Box Brown, so named from the box in 
which he had been nailed up and been borne, 
occasionally on his head, from slavery to free- 
dom ; or Harriet Tubman, who, after making 
her own escape from the land of slavery, had 
made eight or ten covert visits thither, each 
time bringing back by the underground rail- 
road her little band of fugitives ; or William 
and Ellen Craft, she going from city to city 
northward as a young Southern gentleman, 



THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 19 

wearing a tall hat and traveling-shawl after the 
manner of those days, and with spectacles to 
hide her still more, while her husband posed 
as her attendant slave. These, and such as these, 
passed across the stage in successive years. 
And no one who early saw Frederick Douglass 
just rescued from slavery could possibly have 
foreseen in him the princely and command- 
ing aspect with which he was to tread in later 
years those same boards and prove himself, as 
the veteran reporter Yerrington used to say, 
one of the few speakers on the platform whose 
speeches needed absolutely no revision before 
printing. 

These gave the tragic, the Shakespearean 
aspect of the anti-slavery movement, to be re- 
lieved by another side of the screen when 
Wendell Phillips and some other hero of the 
platform led beyond the door the shrieking 
Abby Folsom, with her unfailing cry, " It 's the 
capitalists ! " or Mellen was silenced by more 
subtle persuasions, and tempted away to con- 
tinue his interminable harangue to some single 
auditor in the side scenes. Once take Garri- 
son himself away from the convention, and 
no man better loved his placid joke. He could 
go to prison without flinching, but could not 
forego his pun, we may be sure, after he got 
there, and would no more have denied himself 



20 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

that innocent relaxation in jail than a typical 
French nobleman in Revolutionary days would 
have laid aside his snuff-box in the presence 
of the guillotine. A similar cheerful and un- 
wavering tone pervaded those leaders gener- 
ally, and I remember when Mrs. Chapman 
established the first outdoor anti-slavery festi- 
val, on the avowed ground that there was no 
reason why the children of this world should 
enjoy themselves better than the Children of 
Light. 

It is needless to say that the tropical race in 
whose interest all this anti-slavery work was 
carried on took their share of levity, when op- 
portunity came, the instances of habitual gloom 
being usually found, not among those who 
had escaped from slavery, but rather in those 
born free, bred at the North, having some 
worldly prosperity, and yet feeling that a modi- 
fied subjugation still socially rested upon them. 
The inexhaustible sense of humor in Fred- 
erick Douglass, on the other hand, kept him 
clear of this, as was never better seen than on 
the once famous occasion when the notorious 
Isaiah Rynders of New York, at the head of 
a mob, interrupted an anti-slavery meeting, 
came on the platform, seated himself, and bade 
the meeting proceed. Douglass was speaking, 
and, nothing loath, made his speech only 




MATTHEW ARNOLD 



THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 21 

keener and keener for the interference, weav- 
ing around the intruder's head a wreath of del- 
icate sarcasm which carried the audience with 
it, while the duller wits of the burly despot 
could hardly follow him. Knowing only, in a 
general way, that he was being dissected, Ryn- 
ders at last exclaimed, " What you Abolition- 
ists want to do is to cut all our throats ! " " Oh, 
no ! " replied Douglass in his most dulcet tones. 
" We would only cut your hair ; " and bending 
over the shaggy and frowzy head of the Bowery 
tyrant, he gave a suggestive motion as of scis- 
sors to his thumb and forefinger, with a profes- 
sional politeness that instantly brought down 
the house, friend and foe, while Rynders quit- 
ted the platform in wrath, and the meeting dis- 
solved itself amid general laughter. It was a 
more cheerful conclusion, perhaps, than that 
stormier one — not unknown in reformatory 
conventions — with which Shakespeare so often 
ends his scenes : " Exeunt fighting." 

One of the most curious circumstances con- 
nected with the whole Transcendental period, 
and one tending, whether in seriousness or 
through satire, to bring out its sunny side, 
was its connection with Horace Greeley. He 
himself was a strange mixture of the dreamy 
and the practical, and his very appearance and 
costume, his walk and conversation, combined 



22 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

these inconsistent attributes. The one great 
advertising medium possessed by the whole 
Brook Farm movement was the New York 
" Tribune," and it is a part of the quaintness 
of the whole affair that an enterprise which 
seemed physically so insignificant should have 
for its organ a journal then rapidly on its way 
to becoming the most widely circulated in the 
nation. Yet Greeley's own externals, when he 
first stood at the door at Brook Farm, might 
have suggested a visitor from any part of the 
land rather than New York city, and a delegate 
from any other sphere rather than that of me- 
tropolitan journalism. Miss Amelia Russell, a 
member of the Community, thus describes his 
appearance at first glance : " His hair was so 
light that it was almost white ; he wore a white 
hat ; his face was entirely colorless, even the eyes 
not adding much to save it from its ghostly hue. 
His coat was a very light drab, almost white, 
and his nether garments the same." No better 
samples could, perhaps, be given of the mirth- 
making aspects of that period than might be 
done by a series of extracts from Greeley's let- 
ters as published in the volume called " Pas- 
sages from the Correspondence of Rufus W. 
Griswold," in which you find Greeley alter- 
nately moving heaven and earth to get for the 
then unknown Thoreau the publication of his 



THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 23 

maiden essay on Carlyle in " Graham's Maga- 
zine," and himself giving $75 to pay for it in 
advance ; and about the same time writing to 
Griswold, " Gris. make up for me a brief collec- 
tion of the best Epigrams in the Language — 
say three folio sheets of MSS. ; " then cheer- 
fully adding, "A page may be given to epitaphs, 
if you please, though I don't care ! " 

This suggests how much of the sunshine at 
that period came also to many from Thoreau 
himself, whose talk and letters, like his books, 
were full of delicate humor ; and who gave to 
outdoor hours such an atmosphere of serene 
delight as made one feel that a wood thrush 
was always soliloquizing somewhere in the 
background. Walks with him were singularly 
unlike those taken with Alcott, for instance, 
who only strolled serenely to some hospitable 
fence at the entrance to some wood, and sat 
down there, oblivious whether frogs or wood 
thrushes filled the air, so long as they did not 
withdraw attention from his own discourses. 
As Alcott carried his indoor meditations out of 
doors, so Thoreau brought his outward observa- 
tions indoors, and I remember well the delight- 
ful mornings when his favorite correspond- 
ent, Harry Blake, my neighbor in Worces- 
ter, Mass., used to send round to a few of us 
to come in and hear extracts from Thoreau's 



24 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

last letter at the breakfast-table ; these extracts 
being the very materials that were afterwards 
to make up his choicest volume, " Walden ; " 
letters which combined with breakfast and 
with sunrise to fill the day for us auditors with 
inexhaustible delight. 

That period is long passed, and these few 
stray memories can at best give but a few 
glimpses of its sunnier side. The fact that it 
did pass and that it can never be reproduced 
is the very thing that makes its memories worth 
recalling. The great flood-tide of the civil war 
bore this all away, followed by the stupendous 
growth of a changed nation. Every age has 
its own point of interest ; and the longest per- 
sonal life, if lived wholesomely, can offer but 
a succession of these. But one question still 
remains, and will perhaps always remain, un- 
answered. Considering the part originally done 
by the English Lake Poets in bringing about 
this period of sunshine in America, why is it 
that the leaders of English literature on its 
native soil for the last half century have had 
a mournful and clouded tone? From Carlyle 
and Ruskin through Froude and Arnold to 
Meredith, Hardy, Stevenson, and Henley, all 
have had a prevailing air of sadness, and some- 
times even of frightful gloom. Even Tennyson, 
during at least a portion of his reactionary 



*rf*h hp*. Viftun *k 'CoJe^ fay a- 
/ W /^ ^ ;' J Jlfit >f jM U 



pt( h* & j/W torn*™** U" 




THE TRANSCENDENTAL PERIOD 25 

later life, and Browning, toward the end of his, 
showed the same tendency. In America, on 
the other hand, during the same general period, 
the leading literary figures, with the solitary 
exception of Poe, — who was wont to be an 
exception to all rules, — were sunshiny and 
hopeful, not gloomy. This is certainly true of 
Emerson, Alcott, Thoreau, Longfellow, Lowell, 
Holmes, Whittier, Whitman. Even if Haw- 
thorne may have seemed to the world an ex- 
ception because of his reticence and sombre 
bearing, we must remember how he laid aside 
those traits within his own household. " Never 
was there such a playmate," said to me once his 
noble and stately daughter Una, describing her 
happy childhood. These and all the rest, save 
Poe, found joy, predominant joy, in life. Why 
this difference ? It is not yet time, perhaps, to 
fathom the mystery and give a clear answer to 
the question. 



II 

THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 

I AM accustomed to make great use of an 
invaluable little volume, the Brief Biogra- 
phical Dictionary, and it contains one line that 
often arrests my attention, and has always an 
inexhaustible charm. The plan of the book is 
simply to give in alphabetical order the name 
of each noted person, with his occupation, his 
biographer, and the dates of birth and death ; 
thus preserving in the smallest space, as in an 
urnful of white dust, the. substance of each 
career. And among these condensed memorials 
— inserted between " Fleming, John, Scottish 
Naturalist," and " Fleming, Patrick, Irish Ro- 
man Ecclesiastic " — occurs this line : — 

" Fleming, Marjorie, Pet. (Life by J. Brown, M. D.) 1803- 
1811." 

That is all ; but it is to me as touching as the 
epitaphs of children in the Greek " Anthology." 
Those who have read in Dr. Brown's " Spare 
Hours " his delicious sketch of the fascinating 
little creature thus commemorated, will not won- 
der that her life of eight years obtained for her 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 27 

a niche in fame's temple as enduring as that 
of any of her maturer clansmen. Nay, what to 
us is a mere "Scottish Naturalist" or "Roman 
Ecclesiastic" beside "Pet Marjorie"? 

I would fain take this adoption of this rare 
little maiden into the Biographical Dictionary 
as an indication that we are beginning a more 
careful and reverent study of childish ways. It 
is wrong to leave this mine of quaintness and 
originality to be the mere wonder of a day in 
the household, when even the savants are be- 
ginning to talk about " Psychological Embry- 
ology," thus vouchsafing us two polysyllables, 
beneath whose protecting shadow we may 
enter on pleasant themes. Why should we 
praise Agassiz for spending four hours a day 
at the microscope, watching the growth of a 
turtle's egg, and yet recklessly waste our oppor- 
tunities for observing a far more wondrous 
growth ? Or why should the scientific societies 
send agents to study the Chinook jargon, or 
the legends of the Flathead Indians, when the 
more delicious jargon of these more untamable 
little nomads remains unrecorded ? Mr. G. P. 
Marsh has drawn important inferences as to 
language from the broken English of children ; 
and there are themes of study, more absorbing 
still, in their broken and fantastic imaginations. 

Care and duty hem us in so closely during 



28 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

maturer years, that we should become dry and 
desolate but for constantly recurring to the 
one period of life when the limitations of space 
and time do not oppress us, and the far off is 
as the near. The baby who puts out his little 
hand for the moon is compelled to draw it back 
empty, yet he puts it forth many times again. 
My friend's little daughter, after having the 
stars pointed out to her for the first time, re- 
quested next day to have " two little stars with 
sugar on them for breakfast." And in their 
first dealings with human beings children set 
aside the petty barriers of generations and cen- 
turies in the same fine way. " Mamma," said in 
my hearing the little daughter of a certain poet- 
ess, "did I ever see Mr. Shakespeare?" It 
was at the dinner-table, and between two bites 
of an apple. On another occasion the same 
child said with equal confidence, " Mamma, 
did you ever know Cleopatra ? " There was 
no affectation about it; she was accustomed 
to seeing literary people and other notabili- 
ties at her mother's house; and Shakespeare 
and Cleopatra might have come and gone, 
arm in arm, without exciting her half so much 
as the arrival of a new paper doll. Thus a 
child traveling with me, and seeing me salute, 
at a railway station, a certain Methodist min- 
ister of great dimensions, inquired, with casual 







PHILOSOPHERS 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 29 

interest, whether that was the Pope ? To assign 
to the Pope his proper place in space, and to 
Shakespeare or his heroines their rightful 
position in time, — what have children to do 
with such trifles ? Matters more important 
claim their attention ; are there not hoops and 
skipping-ropes and luncheon ? 

And when the imagination of children thus 
sets out on its travels, it embraces with the same 
easy sweep the whole realm of mythology and 
fairyland, still without questioning or surprise. 
A young gentleman of my acquaintance, aged 
seven, who had already traveled in Greece with 
his father, and who was familiar by hearsay 
with the Homeric legends, formed lately a plan 
of vast compass for summer entertainment. 
He proposed to his father that they should 
erect a hotel on one of the Plymouth (Massa- 
chusetts) hills, and should engage all the Greek 
gods and goddesses as permanent attractions 
for the possible boarders. He suggested that 
these deities had been " turned out " so long 
that they would doubtless be glad to get places, 
and he could afford to pay them handsome sal- 
aries out of the profits. It was a part of the 
scheme that Agamemnon, Ulysses, and others, 
should also be engaged to "preach " at the hotel, 
giving in their discourses a narrative of the 
Trojan war. This course of lectures was to last 



30 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

ten years, and was to be repeated in every de- 
cade ; and finally Orpheus and the Nine Muses 
were to give a series of concerts for the benefit 
of the enterprise. This plan he devised for 
himself and quite independently of his father, 
but wished that gentleman to use his influence 
with the colleges toward securing the necessary 
spectators. This appeal was met by the gen- 
erous pledge of a hundred tickets from Cam- 
bridge alone, whenever this " grand combina- 
tion of attractions," as the programmes say, 
should be brought together. 

In what land of blissful fancy do children 
dwell, when they build up such visions as this, 
— eager to talk about them, wounded if they 
are ridiculed, desolate if they are crushed, and 
yet never absolutely believing them to be wholly 
true ? In maturer years we still yield ourselves 
with some readiness to fancy; we weep at 
the theatre ; actors themselves weep. Charles 
Lamb's friend, Barbara S., remembered in old 
age how her neck had been scalded in child- 
hood by the hot tears that fell from the eyes 
of Mrs. Porter, as Isabella. It does not even 
require the illusion of the visible stage in order 
to produce such emotions. When Richardson 
was writing " Clarissa Harlowe," he had letters 
by scores, imploring him to save his heroine 
from impending despair, or to bring back Love- 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 31 

lace to virtue. " Pray, reform him ; will you not 
save a soul, sir?" wrote one correspondent; 
and Colley Cibber vowed that he should lose 
his faith in a merciful Providence unless Cla- 
rissa were protected. Nor were these the mere 
whims of a fantastic period, for who does not 
remember the general groan of dismay among 
the young women of America when Miss Al- 
cott, in her second volume, forbade the banns 
between Jo and Laurie. Yet how far do even 
these instances fall short of the intensity of 
childhood's emotions ! 

I knew a little girl who was found sobbing in 
bed, one night, unable to close her eyes, long 
after her usual time of slumber. With much 
reluctance and after long cross-examination, 
she owned that her sorrow related solely to the 
woes of " Long Tail " and " Blue Eyes," two de- 
voted rats, whose highly wrought adventures 
she had just been reading in a child's maga- 
zine. " Blue Eyes " had been caught in a trap, 
from which " Long Tail " had finally rescued 
her, but their sufferings had been so vividly 
described that it was long before she could be 
induced to view it as anything but a real tra- 
gedy. Less easy of persuasion was a child once 
under my charge, a boy of twelve, unusually 
strong and active, spending almost his whole 
time in the open air, who was yet moved by 



32 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

the story of " Undine " to such exaggerated emo- 
tion that he lay awake the greater part of the 
night, in an agony of tears, which grew worse 
and worse, till I hit upon a happy thought, 
and imagined for him a wholly new ending to 
the tale, — bringing Undine out of the water 
and reuniting her to Hildebrand, so that all 
should live happily ever after. Being offered 
this entirely ideal refuge from an equally ideal 
woe, my poor little pupil dried up his tears and 
was asleep in five minutes. 

We are apt to be amazed that children should 
thus lend themselves to be profoundly moved 
by what they do not, after all, accept as truth. 
But what know they of real or unreal? The 
bulk of the world's assumed knowledge — as 
that the earth revolves around the sun — is 
to them as remote from personal verification 
as their fairy stories, and seems more improba- 
ble. They have to take almost everything for 
granted, and the faculty of " make-believe " is 
really in constant exercise, whether in study or 
play. " Only the Encyclopaedia to learn," said 
Lord Chatham, with doubtful encouragement, 
to his boy ; but so long as it is all hearsay, how 
is any one to draw the line where the wonders 
of the Encyclopaedia end and those of the 
Arabian Nights begin ? 

" I should think," said my little cousin to 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 33 

me, as he hung enraptured over the Pilgrim's 
Progress, "that those Apollyons must be a 
bad kind of fellows to have about ! " He would 
have taken the same view of rattlesnakes, 
never having actually seen either species of 
monster. Sir Philip Sidney says, when speak- 
ing of the old theatrical practice of labeling 
the stage-scenery, " What child is there, that, 
coming to a play, and seeing ' Thebes ' written 
on an old door, doth believe that it is Thebes ? " 
But all history, and art, and science are but so 
many stage-doors to the child, and they are all 
labeled Thebes, or something still more incom- 
prehensible. Even Keats begins his classifi- 
cation of the universe with "things real, as 
sun, moon, and passages of Shakespeare." The 
truth is, that the child does not trouble himself 
to discriminate between the real and ideal 
worlds at all, but simply goes his way, accepts 
as valid whatever appeals to his imagination, 
and meanwhile lives out the day and makes 
sure of his dinner. Luckily, you can by no 
means put him off with any Barmecide delu- 
sion about that. 

We do not sufficiently remember that the 
most humdrum daily life is essentially ideal to an 
imaginative child, or is, at least, easily idealized. 
One secret of the charm of "Charles Auchester" 
is that in the early chapters it describes the 



34 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

enchantment produced by music on many a 
susceptible boy or girl, portraying emotions 
such as many have experienced, but none had 
ever before dared to describe. There is nothing 
in it which overstates what I can remember 
to have felt in childhood when lying awake in 
bed, after dark, and listening to my sister's 
piano. It may have been a nightly ten minutes, 
at most, but I perceive now, in looking back, 
that the music lulled all childish sorrows to 
sleep, and drew a curtain of enchantment over 
the experience of every day. And even with- 
out such melodious aid, children will take the 
echoes of the most prosaic events and weave 
them into song and legend for themselves. 
How vivid the picture of the lonely life of the 
Bronte household, with their nightly dramas, 
into which Bonaparte and the Duke of Well- 
ington enter, and the wayfaring man at the 
door is caught up into the romance. But a 
thousand such childish experiences are unre- 
corded. We go to visit the families of our 
friends, and find that we have long served 
as dramatis personae to their children. They 
have only heard of us, have never seen us ; but 
they have long since painted us in their pic- 
tures, played us in their games, named dolls or 
boats for us, and taken us with them on ima- 
ginary voyages to the North Pole. They have 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 35 

supplemented their own lives, in short, by in- 
cluding in fancy the experiences of every life 
with which they have come in contact. 

It is a common thing for children to live in 
some world of their own, apart from all their 
daily duties and belongings, In one household 
of my acquaintance, two little girls possess a 
private fairyland named " Blab." All their play 
hours are passed in it ; its secrets are known to 
them only: even their parents are not admit- 
ted ; but their baby sister, not yet two years 
old, is by birthright a citizen of the realm, and 
acts with great dignity her part in its page- 
ants. They have invented for this enchanted 
land a language, both spoken and written, — 
their father, it should be said, is an eminent 
linguist, — and they have devised novel combi- 
nations of letters, to express sounds not repre- 
sented in the English tongue. 

I knew another child who spent her sum- 
mers on a charming estate by the seashore, 
with her grandfather for chief playmate. They 
jointly peopled with a fairy world the woods 
and rocks around them. Every rocky cave, 
every hollow tree, every hole in the ground, was 
full of enchantment. There were paths and 
ravines where it was forbidden to walk fast or 
speak aloud. The two playmates would steal 
off by themselves and hold secret converse 



36 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

for hours concerning these wonders, till, on 
one unlucky day, the elder conspirator for- 
got himself so far as to speak disrespectfully 
of the prime minister of the Court of Fairy- 
land. No actual peril could have taken more 
apparent hold of the child's imagination. She 
walked up and down, wringing her hands, and 
endeavoring to propitiate the supposed wrath 
of these beings unseen by such highly wrought 
appeals as this : — 

11 1 come to implore you in behalf of my be- 
loved grandpapa ! Spare him ! O respectable 
Green Bird ! Do his doom lightly ! " 

Another child of my acquaintance created 
for himself, before he could speak plainly, a 
realm less fairy-like but more fantastic, whose 
ideal hero was named " Mr. Dowdy." The 
materials for his career were all drawn from 
the incidents of daily life in the streets of Bos- 
ton, where the child dwelt ; and nothing was 
seen from the windows that was not imme- 
diately glorified among the incidents of Mr. 
Dowdy's life. Going once to spend a night at 
the house, I found the elder members of the 
family quite excited about a public meeting 
which they had attended, and which had been 
broken up by a mob. I had petitioned, as usual, 
that the little boy might sleep with me, for his 
imagination, like that of most children, was 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 37 

liveliest at first waking, and his prattle was, 
when taken in moderation, a great delight. I 
accordingly found his little head lying on my 
pillow at bedtime, and was aroused the next 
morning to listen with drowsy ears to Mr. 
Dowdy in full career. Nestling close to me, 
the young narrator proceeded. The excitement 
of the night previous had added to his vocab- 
ulary a new word ; and accordingly " Mobs " 
appeared on the scene as a new figure, a sort 
of collective unit, antagonistic to all good, — a 
prince of the powers of evil, — a malign being, 
who made unseemly noises, broke benches in 
halls, and forced peaceful aunts to flee for their 
lives. To " Mobs " malignant enters the virtu- 
ous and triumphant Dowdy, and the scene thus 
proceeds : — 

" Then Mobs come up'tairs again, make a 
noise, frighten the people, frighten Aunty. 
Then Mr. Dowdy come; he set his dog on 
Mobs ; eat him all up ; drive him away." 

Then rising in bed, with an air of final deci- 
sion and resistless fate, — 

" It says in Queen Victoria's book, that out- 
ragis Mobs must be put down'tairs ! " 

So heartily had I gone along with the flow 
of narrative that I hardly felt disposed to 
question the infallible oracle thus cited, and 
" The Koran or the Sword " seemed hardly a 



38 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

more irresistible appeal than Queen Victoria's 
book. I had not the slightest conception what 
it meant; but on inquiry at breakfast, I was 
shown one of those unpleasant medical alma- 
nacs, such as are thrown in at unoffending 
front doors. This, it seemed, had been seized 
upon by one of the elder boys, and one of its 
portraits had been pronounced to look just like 
the pictures of Prince Albert. It had afterward 
passed to my little friend, who had christened 
it, for the alleged resemblance, " Queen Vic- 
toria's book," and had hung it on the wall, 
to be henceforth cited solemnly as containing 
the statutes of the imaginary realm where the 
Dowdies dwelt. 

More commonly, I suppose, this ideal being 
is incarnated in a doll. I knew a little girl who 
spent a winter with two maiden ladies, and 
who had been presented by one of them with 
a paper doll, gorgeously arrayed. She named 
it the Marquis, and at once assigned to that 
nobleman the heart and hand of her younger 
hostess. He was thenceforth always treated 
with the respect due to the head of the house ; 
a chair and plate were assigned him at table, 
though, for reasons of practical convenience, 
he usually sat in the plate. " Good-morning " 
must always be said to him. The best of every- 
thing must be first offered to him, or else Liz- 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 39 

zie was much hurt, and the family were charged 
with discourteous neglect. Indeed, she always 
chose to take the tone that he did not receive 
quite the consideration to which his rank and 
services entitled him ; and when she first 
awoke in the morning, she would give reprov- 
ing lectures to his supposed spouse. " He does 
everything for you," the child would say to this 
lady : " he earns money, and buys you all that 
you have ; he shovels your paths for you," — 
this being perhaps on a snowy morning when 
that process was audible, — " and yet you do 
not remember all his kindness." The whole 
assumed relationship was treated as an abso- 
lute reality, and the lively farce lasted, with 
undiminished spirit, during the whole of a 
New England winter. 

It is matter for endless pondering. What 
place does this sort of thing really occupy in 
a child's mind ? It is not actually taken for 
truth; the child will sometimes stop in full 
career and say, " But this is all make-believe, 
you know," and then fling itself again into the 
imaginary drama, as ardently as ever. These 
little people know the distinction between 
truth and falsehood, after all, and the great 
Turenne, when a boy, challenged a grown-up 
officer for saying that Quintus Curtius was 
only a romance. These fancies are not real ; 



40 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

they are simply something that is closer than 
reality. This makes the charm of that inex- 
haustibly fascinating book, " Alice in the Look- 
ing-Glass," a book which charms every child, 
and which I have nevertheless heard quoted by 
the President of the London Philological So- 
ciety in his annual address, and to the reading 
of a chapter of which I have seen Mr. Darwin 
listen with boyish glee by his own fireside. No 
other book comes so near to the very atmos- 
phere of the dawning mind, that citizen of an 
inverted world, where the visions are half gen- 
uine, and the realities half visions. After Alice 
in the story has once stepped into the looking- 
glass, passing through it to the world where 
everything is reversed, she is at once amazed 
by everything and by nothing. It does not 
seem in the least strange to be talking with the 
queen of the white chessmen, or to have her 
remember the things that are not to happen 
till week after next. Alice in the pictures never 
loses the sweet bewildered expression we know 
so well, and yet she is " always very much 
interested in questions of eating and drink- 
ing," and is as human and charming as Pet 
Marjorie. Who shall disentangle the pretty 
complication ? The real and unreal overlap and 
interpenetrate each other in a child's mind, 
film upon film, till they can be detached only by 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 41 

a touch as subtile as that of Swinburne, when 
he essays to separate the successive degrees of 
remoteness in the portrait of a girl looking at 
her own face in a mirror, — a poem on the 
picture of a likeness, the shadow of the shadow 
of a shade. 

" Art thou the ghost, my sister, — 
White sister there ? 
Am I the ghost, — who knows ? 
My hand, a fallen rose, 
Lies snow-white on white snows, and takes no care." 

Nor does it require any peculiarly gifted 
temperament to bring forth these phenomena 
of childhood. Given the dawning mind as 
agent, and the wonderful universe as material, 
and all else follows of itself. Some of the most 
remarkable stories I have ever known were 
told of children whose maturer years revealed 
nothing extraordinary, just as I heard the other 
day of a girl who could hum the second to a 
musical air before she could speak, and who, 
on growing up, proved to have hardly any ear 
for music. There never was a child so mat- 
ter-of-fact, perhaps, but his mind, on coming 
in contact with the outer world, encountered 
experiences as hazy as the most dreamy poet 
could depict. In older people we can discrim- 
inate between different temperaments, but child- 
hood is in itself a temperament, or does the 



42 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

work of one; and it is brought face to face 
with a universe of realities so vast and bewil- 
dering that you may add all the realm of the 
impossible and hardly make the puzzle more 
profound. 

In Hans Andersen's story, the old hen as- 
sures her chickens that the world is very much 
larger than is commonly supposed, — that in- 
deed it stretches to the other side of the par- 
son's orchard, for she has looked through a 
hole in the fence and has seen. But to the 
child, the whole realm of knowledge is the 
parson's orchard, and all experience is only a 
glimpse through some new hole in the fence. 
What deceives us elders is that the child 
placidly keeps on his way through this world 
of delusion, full of his school and his play, and 
accepting everything as easily as we accept the 
impossibilities of our dreams. He is no more 
concerned with your philosophical analysis of 
his mental processes than were the pigeons 
reared by Darwin with the inferences he drew 
from their plumage and their shapes. Holding 
in himself, could we but understand him, the 
key to all mysteries, the urchin does not so 
much as suspect that there is a key to be sought. 
If he bestows one thought upon the problem 
of his existence, he dismisses it easily with the 
assumption that grown-up people understand 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 43 

it all. But his indifference lulls the grown-up 
people also, and even as we watch him his 
childhood passes, and his fancies "fade into 
the light of common day." 

Thus much for the forms which a child's 
fancy wears. They might be further illustrated 
by endless examples, but let us now consider 
the influence exerted by this faculty upon the 
other powers. It is certain, to begin with, that 
the imagination is, next to love, the most puri- 
fying influence of a child's life. In proportion 
as the little creature absorbs itself in an ideal 
world, it has a mental preoccupation " driv- 
ing far off each thing of sin and guilt." Indo- 
lence or selfish reverie may come in, doubtless, 
but not coarseness. In a strongly imaginative 
childish nature, even if evil seems to enter, it 
leaves little trace behind, and the soul insensi- 
bly clears itself once more. The foundations of 
virtue are laid in the imagination, before con- 
science and reason have gained strength. This 
is according to Plato's theory of the true edu- 
cation, as given in the second book of " The 
Laws." " I mean by education," he says, " that 
training which is given by suitable habits to 
the first instincts of virtue in children ; when 
pleasure and friendship, and pain and hatred 
[of vice] are rightly implanted in souls not yet 
capable of understanding the nature of them, 



44 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

and who find them, when they have attained 
reason, to be in harmony with her. This har- 
mony of the soul, when perfected, is virtue." 

I do not, by any means, assert that the ideal 
temperament tends to keep a child from all 
faults, — only from the grosser faults. H is active 
imagination may sometimes make him appear 
cowardly, for instance, through the vividness 
with which he conjures up dangers that do not 
touch the nerves of the stolid or prosaic. On 
the other hand, the same faculty may make him 
brave, when excited by a great purpose, exclud- 
ing all immediate fears. So this activity of the 
imagination may make him appear cruel, when 
it takes the form of an intense desire to solve 
the mystery of life and death, and to assert 
the wondrous fact of human control over them ; 
an impulse beginning when the boy kills his 
first bird, and not always satiating itself in the 
most experienced hunter. But the same ima- 
ginative power may also make him humane, 
if it be led to dwell on the sufferings of the 
animal, the bereaved nest, the dying young. 
" God gives him wings and I shoot him down," 
says Bettine Brentano. " Ah, no ; that chimes 
not in tune." I suppose we are all at times 
more sentimental than we consent to acknow- 
ledge, and at other times more hard-hearted ; 
and it is for education so to direct our imagi- 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 45 

native power that it shall help us in the contest 
between right and wrong. 

Nevertheless, parents, as must be owned, 
often regard the imagination as a faculty to be 
dreaded for their children. People are like Mr. 
Peter Magnus in " Pickwick," who disliked any- 
thing original, and did not see the necessity 
for it. They assume that this faculty is a mis- 
leading gift, tending to untruth, — making a 
boy assert that a hundred cats are fighting in 
the garden, when there are only his own and 
another. Yet even this extreme statement is 
not to be ranked among deliberate falsehoods, 
— it is only an intense expression, what the 
Greeks called a plural of reverence. For the boy 
two cats are as good or as bad as a hundred, if 
they only scratch and sputter enough, which, 
indeed, they are apt to do. He cannot report 
the battle as greater than his imagination sees 
it. Objectively there may be but two cats; 
subjectively there are a thousand. Indeed, each 
single animal expands before his eyes like that 
dog in Leech's " Brown, Jones, and Robinson," 
which is first depicted as it seemed to those 
travelers, vast, warlike, terrific, and afterward 
as it would have seemed to the unimaginative 
observer, only a poor little barking cur. To 
give the full value of the incident, both pictures 
are needful, and it is only when the power of 



46 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

expression matures that we learn to put both 
into one, securing vividness without sacrificing 
truth. Professor Jared Sparks, the most pains- 
taking of historians, used to tell us in college 
that no man could write history well with- 
out enough of imaginative power to make it 
graphic. 

The fables of children and of childlike na- 
tions, even where they give tongues to ani- 
mals and trees, have an element of truth which 
causes them now to be collected for the pur- 
poses of science. While the philosopher looks 
for the signs of human emotion in the facial 
expression of animals, children boldly go far- 
ther, and attribute words as well as signs. " I 
was never so be-rhymed," says Shakespeare's 
Rosalind, " since Pythagoras' time, that I was an 
Irish rat, which I can hardly remember." But 
children, as Heine says, still recall the time 
when they were animals and trees ; and the 
theory of transmigration always has great fas- 
cination for them. Even the conception of 
their own preexistence sometimes gets into 
their heads. A meditative little fellow, the son 
of a friend of mine, waked one morning with 
the mystical remark on his lips, " Mamma, 
we have all been here more than once, and I 
was only the last one that was sent." In the 
thought of God and of the future life, too, 



THE CHILD AND HIS DREAMS 47 

their imaginations have play, sometimes lead- 
ing to the most familiar and amusing utter- 
ances, and then to words that help older minds 
to trust a higher guidance, and to keep an out- 
look into spheres unseen. The easy faith of 
children strengthens our own, and reminds us 
that the very word " juvenile " comes from the 
Latin juvo, which means " I help." 

Every autumn I collect in my room the 
young seed-vessels of the common milkweed, 
which may be found by every roadside. They 
presently open, and all winter long the graceful 
tufts of sheeny silk are slowly detaching them- 
selves with constant, tireless, noiseless motion ; 
each mounting into the currents of warm air 
and silently floating away. You cannot keep 
these little voyagers down ; you cannot guide 
them as they soar ; they are presently found 
clinging in unexpected places, and are set free 
at a touch, to float off again ; they occupy the 
room with a delicate aerial life of their own. 
Just such winged things are the fancies of child- 
hood, giving to the vital seed of thought its 
range ; bearing it lightly over impurities and 
obstructions, till it falls into some fitting soil 
at last, there to recreate itself and bear fruit a 
hundred-fold. 



Ill 

ENGLISH AND AMERICAN 
COUSINS 

I HEARD on board ship, a few years ago, 
a discussion as to the comparative number 
of Americans visiting England and of English- 
men visiting America. None rated the propor- 
tion of the former class as less than ten to one ; 
but the most experienced traveler among us 
laughed at this low estimate, and declared that 
five hundred to one would be much nearer. 
Be the difference less or more, it shows the ut- 
terly unequal ground on which the two national 
bodies meet, as to mutual acquaintance. Trav- 
eling on the Continent of Europe, soon after, 
with a party of young Americans, I was witness 
of their dismay at being assailed from time to 
time by friendly English fellow travelers with 
such questions as these : " Is it not very lonely 
in America? Are there any singing birds 
there ? Any wild flowers ? Any bishops ? Are 
there booths in the streets of New York ? Do 
people read English books there ? Have they 
heard of Ruskin ; and how ? " These were from 




A CONSOLATION ENTERTAINMENT 



A " consolation " Entertainment to be held outside the Sheldonian by members of the Heb- 
domadal Board and others on the 9th June, 1875, when it is hoped that the " Undergrade " 
will enjoy the brilliant endeavours of the talented company. (N. B. Not to be seen out 
of Oxford.) No collection after the performance ! ! ! 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 49 

the rank and file of questioners, while a very 
cultivated clergyman lost caste somewhat with 
our young people by asking confidently, " Are 
Harvard and Yale both in Boston? " a question 
which seemed to them as hopelessly benighted 
as the remark of a lady, just returned from 
the wonders of the New World, who had been 
impressed, like all visitors, with the novelties 
offered in the way of food at Baltimore dinner- 
tables, but who still sighed with regret at hav- 
ing been obliged to come away without eating 
what she called " a canvas-backed clam." 

One needs to know but little of large fami- 
lies of collateral kindred to recognize that the 
nearer the cousinship, the closer the criticism. 
Theodore Hook profanely declares the phrase 
" a friend that sticketh closer than a brother " 
to designate a cousin, and Lord Bacon comes 
near enough to the same thought to point out 
that we are bidden by the highest authority to 
forgive our enemies, but are nowhere bidden 
to forgive our friends. It may be wise, there- 
fore, for Americans to draw their compliments, 
not from their own newspapers, but from the 
verdicts of such English critics as Lord Lyons, 
who, as recorded in the delightful " Letters of 
a Diplomat's Wife," declared, on his return 
from a long residence in Washington, that he 
" had never yet met a stupid American woman," 



50 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

or Mr. Froude, who, during his voyage around 
the world, records, " Let me say that nowhere 
in America have I met with vulgarity in its 
proper sense." These two compliments are un- 
doubtedly so sweeping that perhaps no Amer- 
ican citizen would think it quite safe to apply 
them to the people who live in the adjoining 
street ; but they are at least worth a thousand 
vague newspaper libels. Even Matthew Arnold, 
who certainly cannot be said to have loved 
America much, or to have known much about 
it, — for what can a man be said to know 
about America who describes a Virginia mob 
as fortifying its courage with flshballs and ice 
water ? 1 — was led, while making a comparison 
with those whom he had left at home, to say, 
" Our [English] countrymen, with a thousand 
good qualities, are really, perhaps, a good deal 
wanting in lucidity and flexibility." 

In the same way, Americans might borrow 
their criticisms on England from those writ- 
ing in that country. Thus, Mr. H. G. Wells, a 
novelist and scientist in one, but not himself a 
university man, writes in the " Fortnightly Re- 
view " of " the ordinary Oxford, Cambridge, or 
London B. A. : " " He has a useless smatter- 
ing of Greek; he cannot read Latin with any 
comfort, much less write or speak that tongue ; 

1 The Nineteenth Century, May, 1887, p. 317. 




JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 51 

he knows a few unedifying facts round and 
about the classical literature ; he cannot speak 
or read French with any comfort ; he has an 
imperfect knowledge of the English language, 
insufficient to write it clearly, and none of Ger- 
man ; he has a queer, old-fashioned, and quite 
useless knowledge of certain rudimentary sec- 
tions of mathematics, and an odd little bite out 
of history. He knows practically nothing of 
the world of thought embodied in English lit- 
erature, and absolutely nothing of contempo- 
rary thought ; he is totally ignorant of modern 
political or social science. If he knows any- 
thing of evolutionary science and heredity, it is 
probably matter picked up in a casual way from 
the magazines, and art is a sealed book to him." 

And lest it be said that Mr. Wells, with all 
his knowledge and brilliancy, is not himself a 
graduate of any English university, it is fair to 
cite the opinion of Mr. Rudolph C. Lehmann 
(Trinity College, Cambridge, M. A.), who, after 
spending much time in America, where he was 
familiar with our university life, makes the fol- 
lowing remark as to English and American 
schoolboys. He writes : — 

" There can be no comparison between the 
two. The English public schoolboy is one of 
the most profoundly ignorant creatures on the 
face of the earth. Of geography he knows only 



52 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

as much as he may have gathered by collect- 
ing postage stamps. With English literature 
he is not even on terms of distant politeness. 
The style and composition of his letters would 
make a housemaid smile, and modern history, 
whether of his own country or of the world in 
general, is a sealed book to him." 

No criticism from Americans is more com- 
mon than that as to the greater slowness of the 
English mind as compared with the American ; 
and Professor Tyndall, when lecturing in this 
country, was amused to find, as he told me, 
that whereas in making experiments before a 
London audience he had to repeat his explana- 
tion three times, — once to make his hearers 
comprehend what he was about to do, then to 
show what he was doing, and then to explain 
what he had done, — he could after his first 
lecture in America omit the final explanation, 
and latterly the middle one as well. He also 
told a story to the same effect about an Eng- 
lish manager of a " minstrel " troupe, traveling 
in America, who was accustomed to prolong 
his jokes by the aid of two end men, each bring- 
ing out a part of the joke, but who found 
with indignation that every American audience 
" caught on " without waiting for the second 
end man. Yet the careful American observer 
soon finds that the standard of quickness is to 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 53 

be determined in England, as everywhere else, 
by the point of view. People who go slowly on 
new ground may turn out to be quick enough 
when wholly at home with any particular line 
of thought. 

How odious and complicated, for instance, 
seems to an American observer the computa- 
tion of pounds, shillings, and pence ! It seems 
strange that any nation should consent for a 
day to employ anything but a decimal currency ; 
yet with what lightning rapidity does a London 
bookkeeper make his computations! Again, 
what a life of tedious formality seems that of an 
English house servant ; yet there was no slow- 
ness of intellect in that footman, in an earl's 
family, who, when his young lord fell over the 
banister, and his younger brother called to ask 
if the elder boy was hurt, answered promptly, 
" Killed, my lord ! " thus promoting the second 
son to the peerage while the elder was falling 
over the banister. Even in the House of Com- 
mons, the unlikeness to an American delib- 
erative body is found to vary according to the 
point from which you look at the discussion. 
The Englishman begins with a curious air of 
hesitation, whereas the American glides into 
his speech at once ; but the difference is that 
the Englishman suddenly surprises you by 
coming to his point with clearness and deci- 



54 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

sion, after which he amazes you yet more by 
sitting down ; whereas the American, after his 
first good hit, is apt to seem intoxicated by 
his own success, and feels bound to keep on 
indefinitely, waiting for another. You are left 
under the impression that an ideal speech in 
any debating body would be achieved by hav- 
ing an American to begin it and an English- 
man to end it. 

Such plain facts as these show the injustice 
of attributing to our cousins any deliberate un- 
fairness to ourselves, and any conscious spirit 
of boastfulness. We have only to read the 
newspapers to see that party spirit rises, on the 
whole, higher in England than here ; and cer- 
tainly it is impossible for our cousins to criticise 
us with more formidable frankness than that 
which they apply to one another. No man 
who ever lived was more universally claimed 
as a typical Englishman than Walter Savage 
Landor, and yet he wrote to Lady Blessington, 
" I would not live in London the six winter 
months for ^iooo a week. No, not even with 
the privilege of hanging a Tory on every lamp 
arm to the right, and a Whig on every one to 
the left, the whole extent of Piccadilly." 

It must be remembered that the progress 
of events is in one respect, at least, distinctly 
drawing the two nations into closer connection. 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 55 

The advance of colonization undoubtedly tends 
to democratize England, while the same devel- 
opment has the opposite effect in America. 
Froude, in his travels, found the British colo- 
nists, here and there, thinking that Tennyson 
must have lost his wits to accept a peerage; 
and it is well remembered that at least one 
of those who came to the Queen's Jubilee to 
represent different regions of the globe refused 
a proffered knighthood on the ground that 
his constituents would not endure it. Anglo- 
Indian life, to be sure, shows no such results, 
the conditions there being wholly different; 
but I speak of the self-governing colonies like 
Canada and Australia; and no one can have 
stayed any time under the same roof with such 
colonists in England, or paced the quarter- 
deck with them on board ship, without feeling 
them to be nearer to Americans than to Eng- 
lishmen in their general mental attitude. 

Perhaps the best single key to the lingering 
difference between English and American tem- 
peraments is to be found in that precept brought 
to the front in almost any text-book of morals 
or manners one can open in England, bidding 
each man to " be faithful to that station of life 
to which he is called." To the American, upon 
whom has always been imposed the duty of 
creating for himself his own station, this maxim 



$6 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

seems to explain all the unsatisfactory results 
which seem to follow from the English method. 
Is the calling equally providential and even 
sacred, no matter from whom the voice pro- 
ceeds ? The first glance at the history of the 
English peerage shows us six peerages created 
to ennoble the offspring of Charles II, who left 
no legitimate child. Seven more were created 
by William IV for his illegitimate sons ; and his 
two illegitimate daughters were the wives of 
peers. All these families are entitled to use the 
royal liveries. Next to this lineage of degra- 
dation come the peerages and other grades of 
rank founded primarily on wealth, — a process 
naturally beginning with the lower grades. 
Hume tells us that James I created the order 
of Baronets in 1611 by selling two hundred of 
those titles for a thousand pounds each. Mr. 
Pitt went so far as to say that all men whose 
income was rated at more than twelve thou- 
sand pounds should be in the House of Lords. 
How systematically this method has been car- 
ried on to this day may be seen in the follow- 
ing passage from the "Spectator" of May 23, 
1896: — 

" The Birthday Honors published on May 
20 hardly call for comment. Lord Salisbury 
does not distribute them eccentrically, but ac- 
cording to the regular custom, taking wealthy 










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ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 57 

squires like Mr. E. Heneage and Colonel 
Malcolm of Poltalloch for his peerages ; and 
giving baronetcies to Mr. R. U. P. Fitzgerald, 
Mr. W. O. Dalgleish, Mr. Lewis Mclver, Mr. 
J. Verdin, and Mr. C. Cave, because they are 
wealthy men who have done service to the 
party." 

If it be said that this process does not vary 
essentially from the method by which social 
rank is created in America, the reply is plain 
enough. Grant that the two forms of aristo- 
cracy have much in common, both in their 
sense of power, and in that comforting fact 
which Lady Eastlake so finely pointed out, 
that both of them often " return to the sim- 
plest tastes ; they have everything that man can 
make, and therefore they turn to what only 
God can make." Nevertheless, there is this fur- 
ther difference, that, as Mr. Howells has so well 
shown, though the rich man may look down 
as distinctly as the lord can, the poor man does 
not equally look up. Note, too, that in the next 
place, the prestige of the rich American Van- 
ishes with his wealth, and in case he dies poor, 
his children inherit nothing ; whereas inherited 
rank in England goes by blood only, and is not 
impaired by the fact that the rank may pass 
afterwards into the hands of a bankrupt or a 
scoundrel. The same limitation applies to the 



58 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

riches of the brain, which may also refuse to be 
hereditary. One can hardly cast so much as a 
glance at the United States Senate in session, 
and then at the English House of Lords in 
session, without recognizing the American 
elective body to have a far more intellectual 
aspect than the other assemblage ; or without 
further observing that nine tenths of the visi- 
ble intellect in the British House is to be seen 
in the faces and foreheads of the Bench of 
Bishops, or the so-called Law Lords, whose 
origin may have been of the humblest. " Why 
noble Earls should be so ugly," wrote one 
English observer of some note in his day, " is 
a problem in nature ; " but the question is not 
that of mere beauty or ugliness ; it is of visible 
mental power. 

Even so far as a possible heredity goes, it 
must be recognized that a republican life is 
what makes grandparents most truly interest- 
ing. Free from the technical whims of an or- 
ganized peerage, — such, for instance, as primo- 
geniture, — one is left free to trace for good 
or for evil his inheritance from the various 
lines of ancestry. Those lines may be drawn 
with especial interest from public service or 
social prominence; from pursuits, or education, 
or even wealth. Whittier's Quaker inheritance 
was as important to him as Longfellow's par- 



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ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 59 

entage of judges and landed proprietors was 
to him. I knew an American radical, who, on 
going to England, paid some one at the Her- 
alds' College to look up his ancestry. Coming 
back to London some months later, he found 
that the inquirer had gone back no farther, as 
yet, than to reach one of his name who was 
hanged as a rebel under the Tudors. " Just 
as I expected," said the American in delight; 
" do not follow it any further. I am perfectly 
satisfied." 

Fifty years ago, so far as mere traveling 
was concerned, the distinctions of rank in 
the mother country did not intrude themselves 
on the American cousin. It was the frequent 
habit of traveling Americans, visiting England 
for the first time, to assume that their hosts 
would be ungracious, and that they themselves 
must necessarily wear a hedgehog suit. As a 
matter of fact, however, even then, the Amer- 
ican traveler usually laid aside his prickles on 
the second day, finding that there was no use 
for them in those small railway carriages. 
Traveling Englishmen of all conditions, at 
least on their own soil, proved quite as ready 
to offer a railway guide, or a bit of advice, as 
in this country. It is to be remembered, more- 
over, that the whole system of traveling habits 
in England — railways, hotels, and all — has 



60 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

greatly expanded and liberalized within that 
time. No doubt much of the former American 
injustice was due to the example of English- 
men of the last generation in doing injustice 
to one another. Horace Walpole said that he 
should love his country very much if it were 
not for his countrymen. " I hate Englishmen," 
said Keats, "for they are the only men I know." 
Heinrich Heine, that Parisian German, said 
that he was firmly convinced that a blasphem- 
ing Frenchman was regarded with more favor 
by the Almighty than a praying Englishman, 
and one might find examples, even among 
Englishmen themselves, of self-reproaches al- 
most equally piquant. 

On the other hand, the sense of truthful- 
ness, of national rectitude, of a certain solid 
quality, comes over you like a whiff of English 
air in the very tone of voice of the first rail- 
way porter you meet. I recall vividly, as a 
type of this trait, a certain little English ser- 
geant, with hair as fiery as his uniform, whom 
I met in an Irish post-office in 1870. I had 
landed at Cork the day before, on my first 
transatlantic trip, soon after the Civil War; 
and having been lately familiar with our own 
troops, I felt a great desire to see those of 
the mother country. Having readily obtained 
information from him as to the barracks near 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 61 

by, we carried the conversation a little fur- 
ther. My new acquaintance seemed pleased at 
hearing that I had taken an actual part in the 
Civil War, and rather disappointed to find that 
I had been on what he evidently regarded as 
the wrong side. He told me in return that, al- 
though now a sergeant of the Guards, he had 
previously served in another regiment. Leaving 
him presently, I went to purchase some stamps 
at the office, where I was somewhat delayed by 
other applicants, and also by a natural inex- 
perience in handling British money. During 
this time I observed that my friend of the 
brilliant coloring was lingering and keeping 
his eye on me, as if waiting for some further 
interview ; and as I went toward the door he 
approached me, and begged my pardon for 
saying something more. " I told you, sir," he 
said, " that I was a sergeant of the Guards, 
which is true. But I wish to explain that I was 
not originally a member of that regiment, but 
was transferred to it after the battle of the Alma, 
where I was severely wounded. I give you my 
word of honor, sir, that I am the very shortest 
man in the corps ! " I could only think of the 
phrase attributed to the Duke of Wellington, 
" The Guard dies, but never surrenders ! " 

The name of the Guards suggests to me a 
striking instance where an English friend and 



62 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

distant kinsman of mine, then in command of 
the Grenadier Guards, found himself under 
the need of testing very suddenly the essential 
manhood of a body of Englishmen on the 
very verge of what seemed for the moment 
an insurrection. It was on that well-remem- 
bered night when the London mob tore down 
the fences of Hyde Park, to be used either 
as bonfires or as barricades, as the case might 
be. On that perilous evening, this officer was 
dining at a friend's house, all unconscious of 
impending danger, when he received a sum- 
mons from the War Department, telling him 
that his regiment was ordered out to deal 
with a mob. Hurrying back to his own house, 
and calling for his man servant to saddle his 
horse, he found that the man had gone by 
permission for the evening, and had the key 
of the stable in his pocket ; so that the offi- 
cer, after hastily donning his uniform, must 
proceed on foot to the Guards' Armory, which 
lay on the other side of Hyde Park. Walking 
hastily in that direction, he came out unex- 
pectedly at the very headquarters of the mob, 
where they were piling up the fences. Already 
his uniform had been recognized, and angry 
shouts began to rise. It must have seemed for 
the moment to the mob that the Lord had 
delivered their worst enemy into their hands. 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 63 

There was but one thing to be done. Making 
his way straight toward the centre of action, 
he called to a man mounted on the pile, the 
apparent leader of the tumult, " I say, my good 
fellow, my regiment has been called out by 
Her Majesty's orders. Will you give me a 
hand over this pile ? " The man hesitated for 
an instant, and then said with decision, " Boys, 
the gentleman is right ! He is doing his duty, 
and we have no quarrel with him. Lend a 
hand, and help him over." This was promptly 
done, with entire respect, and the officer, in 
his brilliant uniform, went hastily on his way 
amid three cheers from the mob, which then 
returned to its work, to be completed before 
he whom they had aided should come back at 
the head of his regiment, and, if needful, order 
them to be shot down. 

Surely the most travel-worn American, one 
would think, when recalling such scenes, can 
never revisit London without being reminded 
of the noble description of that great capital 
in Milton's " Areopagitica," written in 1644: 
" Behold now this vast city, a city of refuge, 
the mansion house of liberty, encompassed and 
surrounded with his protection ; the shop of 
war hath not there more anvils and hammers 
working, to fashion out the plates and instru- 
ments of armed justice in defence of beleaguered 



64 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

truth, than there be pens and heads there sitting 
by their studious lamps, musing, searching, 
revolving new notions and ideas wherewith to 
present, as with their homage and fealty, the 
approaching reformation ; others as fast read- 
ing, trying all things, assenting to the force 
of reason and convincement. . . . Under these 
fantastic terrors of sect and schism, we wrong 
the earnest and jealous thirst after knowledge 
and understanding which God hath stirred up 
in this city." 

When it comes to the use of their common 
language, the English and American cousins 
have no doubt those variations which habitually 
mark kindred families, even in adjacent houses ; 
and, as between those families, there are always 
arguments on both sides, and many dictionaries 
and even lexicons need to be turned over before 
coming to a decision. In the same way, when 
a New England farmer says, " I don't know 
nothin' about it," we are apt to forget that this 
double negative was a matter of course in the 
Anglo-Saxon (see Hickes's Thesaurus), as it 
still is in the French ; and it may be found 
abundantly in Chaucer and in Shakespeare, as 
in " Romeo and Juliet" (act iii, scene v), — 

" a sudden day of joy, 
That thou expect'st not nor I look'd not for." 

In the same way, when our country people say 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 65 

" learn me," instead of teach me," they have 
behind them the authority of the English Bible, 
"learn me true understanding," and also of 
Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare, the latter, 
curiously enough, sometimes employing both 
words in the same sentence, as in " The Tem- 
pest " (act i, scene ii), where Caliban says, — 

" You taught me language ; . . . 
. . . The red plague rid you 
For learning me your language ! " 

The French apprendre combines the meaning 
of the two words in the same way. 

All the cousins must admit that such phrases 
are everywhere better preserved in rustic com- 
munities than elsewhere. Even in America, we 
get nearer the Chaucerian and Shakespearean 
dialect in the country than in the city. Old 
people are also necessarily nearer to it than 
the young, whatever the language. Thus M. 
Pasquier, who died in France in 16 15 at the 
age of eighty-seven, remembered that in his 
youth the French word honnete had still an s 
in it, as in the English " honest," and com- 
plained that he lived to see the s dropped and 
a circumflex accent substituted. It is to be 
noted, also, that in a new country all changes, 
when once introduced, make their way much 
faster than in an older one. We still see Eng- 
lish critics laying the whole responsibility for 



66 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

the dropping of the u in " honor," " favor," and 
the like, on Webster's Dictionary, whereas it 
really originated in England long before the 
publication of that work. It is stated in " The 
Gentleman's Magazine" for 1803 (No. lxxiii, 
part i, p. 146) that there was at that time in 
the library of St. John's College, Cambridge, a 
copy of Middleton's " Life of Cicero " printed 
with the omission of the u in such words, — a 
volume in which some pious student had taken 
the pains to reinsert them all. It would, at that 
time, have been thought an equal outrage to 
drop the closing k from physick, musick, pub- 
lick, and the like; the only difference being 
that the u has thus far held its own, and the k 
has not. The English language simply changes 
faster in America than in England ; and in this 
respect, as in some others, we are more like 
the French in our qualities. Vaugelas, an old 
French translator of Quintus Curtius, after de- 
voting thirty years to the work, had to correct 
the language and spelling of the earlier part to 
make it conform to that of the latter pages ; so 
that the critic Voiture applied to his case the 
Latin epigram of Martial on a barber, who did 
his work so slowly that the hair began to grow 
again upon one half the face while he was shav- 
ing the other. 

When we pass from the comparative dialects 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 67 

of the English and American cousins to their 
respective intonations, we find that, as Mr. 
William Archer has admirably pointed out in 
the " Pall Mall Magazine," there are so many 
whims and inconsistencies to be counted up in 
each family that it is hardly worth while to 
strike the balance. In colloquial utterance it 
is a curious fact that the nation which uses the 
more even and uninflected tone is the more 
impetuous and impulsive of the two, namely, 
the American ; while the Englishman, slower 
and more staid, has yet a far more varied into- 
nation. The most patriotic American, after a 
stay of some months in England, is struck by 
a certain flatness and monotony in the prevail- 
ing utterance of his fellow countrymen, on the 
quarter-deck of the returning steamer. Here, 
as in most things, there is a middle ground, and 
the two families are much less distinguishable 
in this respect than formerly. The American 
nasality is also toned down, and it is more and 
more common for two English-speaking stran- 
gers to meet and try in vain to guess the na- 
tional origin of each other. When it comes to 
the actual pronunciation, it is a curious fact to 
notice, that special variations of speech in the 
English lower class have ceased to be acciden- 
tal and unconscious, if they ever were so, but are 
more deliberate and, so to speak, premeditated, 



68 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

than those of the corresponding class — so far 
as there is such a class — in America. I heard 
with interest, for the first time, in a third-class 
railway carriage in London an evidently con- 
scientious and careful mother impressing on her 
child as a duty that extraordinary transforma- 
tion of the letter a into i oxy, of which the best 
manual is to be found in Mr. Whiteing's admi- 
rable tale, " No. 5 John Street." His neighbors 
on that street usually transformed " paper " into 
"piper," "lady "into "lidy," and " always" into 
"alwize." But in the case I describe, when a 
sudden shower came up, the little boy called 
attention to it, in what would seem to us a fa- 
miliar enough dialect : " Mother, it 's rainin' ! " 
" You should n't say rainin'," said the anxious 
mother; "you should say rynin' ! " It brought 
home to me a similar attempt, on the part of 
an Irish-American orator, to correct Senator 
Lodge's habitual and very proper pronunciation 
of the place of his summer residence, Nahant. 
" Mr. Lodge of Nahant," said the orator, with 
a contemptuous prolongation of the last two 
vowels. He then paused for a sympathetic re- 
sponse from a Cambridge audience, but receiv- 
ing none, he repeated, " Mr. Lodge of Nahant; 
that's the way he calls it. Common people 
call it Nahant." 

The conclusive statement as to the future 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 69 

relation of English and American cousins 
may perhaps be found in that quiet sentence 
in which Emerson's volume called "English 
Traits " sums up (in 1856) its whole contents : 
" It is noticeable that England is beginning to 
interest us a little less." Toward this tends the 
whole discussion of that in which the mother 
country differs from her still formidable rival, 
France, on the one side, and from her gigantic 
child, the American Republic, on the other. 
As against both of these, England still clings 
to the toy of royalty and all which it implies. 
Against countries where aspiring intellect finds 
nothing too high for it to aim at, there still re- 
mains in England the absolute precedence of 
the House of Lords. I knew a young Ameri- 
can girl, who, going to England under the care 
of an ambassador's family, and attending her 
first large dinner party, selected, upon looking 
about her, as the most interesting guest in the 
room, one man of distinguished aspect, whom 
she resolved to watch. When the guests were 
ushered into the dining-hall according to the 
laws of precedence, she found herself at the 
very end of the brilliant procession, as one of 
two untitled plebeians, in company with the 
very man who had interested her, and who 
proved to be Samuel Rogers, the poet and 
patron of art, and the recognized head of lit- 



70 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

erary society in London. She always said that 
she secured two things at that entertainment, 
namely, the most delightful companion that 
she ever had at a dinner party, and, moreover, 
a lesson in the outcome of mere hereditary 
rank that would last a lifetime. Rogers's poems 
are not now read so much as formerly, but at 
that time the highest attention a literary Ameri- 
can visitor could receive in London was to dine 
with him. He was also one of the richest bank- 
ers in that city, and was very possibly the only 
person in the room who had won for himself a 
reputation outside of his own little island ; but 
he was next to nobody in that company, and 
the little American girl was the nobody. 

Max O'Rell points out that the Frenchman 
who takes no notice of a duke will turn to take 
a second look at a great literary man or savant. 
No doubt the English aristocracy, as is always 
the case with aristocracies, often goes out of 
its way to do honor to literature and art in the 
form of courtesy or patronage ; but this, too, 
has its limits. It is easy enough for a literary 
man in England to dine with a lord who shares 
his own tastes ; it is only when he is asked to 
dine with a stupid lord that the attention can 
be counted as a social recognition. Even in 
this case it may be in the hope of finding the 
unwonted guest amusing; and it was said that 



ENGLISH AND AMERICAN COUSINS 71 

the immediate cause of the artist Haydon's 
suicide was his despair at being hopelessly 
eclipsed in polite society by Tom Thumb. If 
this is true, what fatal instances of self-destruc- 
tion may not have taken place among Ameri- 
can artists and authors who found themselves 
equally outshone in the English fashionable 
life by Buffalo Bill! 

But let us turn from these trifles and go 
deeper. No American could possibly have 
passed through England during the anxious 
days of President McKinley's final ordeal and 
death, without being profoundly impressed with 
the inalienable tie between the two nations 
whose cousinship never before was so strik- 
ingly visible. I happened to be at Exeter, a 
city as marked, perhaps, as any in England 
for all that is non-American in church and 
state. All through that fatal Sunday the tele- 
grams conveying the latest returns were put 
out, from time to time, at the windows of the 
office, and all day long one might see groups 
or single observers coming, going, and paus- 
ing to inspect ; even children eagerly transmit- 
ting the successive items of news from one 
to another. There was no religious service 
held in the city, from the most conservative 
to the most liberal, where there was not some 
reference made to the incident. In all of these 



72 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

there was reported — and as to several I can 
personally testify — a fullness of feeling such 
as touched the heart of every American. On 
the next morning, whole pages of the country 
newspapers, usually so barren of American 
items, were crowded with reports of Sunday 
services in various towns and villages. Driv- 
ing through the country, in any direction, dur- 
ing those sorrowful days, one saw mourning 
flags here and there, on the streets, on public 
buildings, and before private houses. In Lon- 
don the very omnibus drivers sometimes car- 
ried them. We were constantly told that no 
European sovereign's death had ever brought 
forth so much testimonial of grief, and we 
could well believe it. No American who hap- 
pened to be in England during that experience 
can ever again doubt the depth and reality of 
English and American cousinship. 



IV 

AMERICAN AUDIENCES 

' I ^HERE was a time, nearly fifty years 
-^ ago, when an American popular lecturer 
might say with truth, in the words of Emer- 
son, " Europe stretches to the Alleghanies." 
One needed then to go beyond that barrier to 
find the first distinguishing footprints of young 
America, these being seen in the shaping in- 
fluence produced on the growing West by the 
New York " Tribune," the "Atlantic Monthly," 
and the popular lecture system, otherwise called 
the Lyceum. The two former influences, how- 
ever modified, are not yet extinct in the nation, 
we may claim ; but the popular lecture system 
in anything like its original shape has vanished, 
even as a theme for discussion. Let us for a 
little while recall it, and for that purpose try 
to bring back some almost forgotten features 
of the young American community to which it 
came. 

It is impossible for any but the very oldest 
to recall the astounding social effects produced 
upon all occupations and the whole way of 



74 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

living in America by the introduction of rail- 
ways. I possess a copy of the notes of " The 
Rangers' Trip to Westboro or Lion Quick- 
step," a march composed for the Boston Rifle 
Rangers, in 1834, when they took part in the 
first excursion made upon the Boston and 
Worcester Railway, just then opened to West- 
boro, thirty-two miles away. On this sheet of 
music is represented the train which bore that 
illustrious military company upon a pioneer 
excursion. The little train is drawn up beside 
the track in a series of box-cars much resem- 
bling cupboards in their narrowness and side- 
long arrangement. They are best described in 
one of the quaint notebooks of Samuel Breck 
of Philadelphia, then residing in Boston: 
" This morning at nine o'clock I took passage 
in a railroad car [from Boston] for Providence. 
Five or six other cars were attached to the 
loco, and uglier boxes I do not wish to travel 
in. They were huge carriages made to stow 
away some thirty human beings, who sit cheek 
by jowl as best they can. Two poor fellows, 
who were not much in the habit of making 
their toilet, squeezed me into a corner, while 
the hot sun drew from their garments a vil- 
lainous compound of smells made up of salt 
fish, tar, and molasses. By and by, just twelve 
— only twelve — bouncing factory girls were 



AMERICAN AUDIENCES 75 

introduced, who were going on a party of plea- 
sure to Newport. ' Make room for the ladies ! ' 
bawled out the superintendent. ' Come, gentle- 
men, jump up on the top : plenty of room 
there/ ' I 'm afraid of the bridge knocking 
my brains out,' said a passenger. Some made 
one excuse and some another. For my part, 
I flatly told him that since I had belonged 
to the corps of Silver Grays I had lost my 
gallantry, and did not intend to move. The 
whole twelve were, however, introduced, and 
soon made themselves at home, sucking lem- 
ons and eating green apples." 1 

It is worth while dwelling a little further 
upon Mr. Breck's criticisms, so illustrative of 
the period. He thus goes into the social phi- 
losophy of this matter, and expounds it as 
if to imply that he is guided by something 
more than a whim : " Undoubtedly, a line of 
post-horses and post-chaises would long ago 
have been established along our great roads 
had not steam monopolized everything. Steam, 
so useful in many respects, interferes with the 
comfort of traveling, destroys every salutary 
distinction in society, and overturns by its 
whirligig power the once rational, gentlemanly, 
and safe mode of getting along on a journey. 
Talk of ladies on board a steamboat or in a 

1 Recollections of Samuel Breck, p. 275. 



76 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

railroad car! There are none. I never feel 
like a gentleman there, and I cannot perceive 
a semblance of gentility in any one who makes 
part of the traveling mob. . . . To restore 
herself to caste, let a lady move in select com- 
pany at five miles an hour, and take her meals 
in comfort at a good inn, where she may 
dine decently. . . . After all, the old-fashioned 
way of five or six miles an hour, with one's 
own horses and carriage, with liberty to dine 
decently in a decent inn and be master of 
one's movements, with the delight of seeing 
the country and getting along rationally, is 
the mode to which I cling, and which will be 
adopted again by the generations of after 
times." 1 

It was for a primitive community like this, 
just beginning to expand, that there grew up 
in New England, in New York, and at length 
as far as the Mississippi, an organization under 
the name of the Lyceum. There was, perhaps, 
some special local charity to be established in 
a settlement, or a church to be built, or a school 
to be endowed, so that a ready impulse was 
created among the so-called leading citizens, 
with devout women not a few, to organize a 
course of lectures. Some of these were usually 
furnished by the prominent men of the vicinity, 

1 Recollections of Samuel Breck, pp. 276, 277. 



AMERICAN AUDIENCES 77 

the clergyman, the lawyer, possibly even the 
member of Congress. The lecture became the 
monthly or weekly excitement of the place, and 
people drove long distances to reach it. Origi- 
nating almost always with the New England 
element in the population, there grew up larger 
lecture societies, and these were soon, with the 
American love of organization, bound together 
more or less extensively. " The Association 
of Western Literary Societies," for instance, 
formed in 1867 or earlier, extended its range 
from Pittsburg in Pennsylvania to Lawrence 
in Kansas. In the winter of 1867-68, the 
agent of this association, Mr. G. L. Torbert of 
Dubuque, Iowa, negotiated between thirty-five 
lecturers and a hundred and ten societies, fur- 
nishing for each society a course of lectures, 
longer or shorter, and for each orator a tolera- 
bly continuous series of engagements. 

Each man carried his letter of instructions in 
his pocket, and went forth with confidence 
to seek his dozen or his fifty towns, although 
in many cases their very names might have 
been previously unknown to him. He might 
reach the people solely on the indorsement 
of the agent, or he might be one whose very 
name was a magnet to bring people fifty miles. 
From the moment he entered the hall, or even 
the town, he was under strict surveillance. 



78 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

He was to be tested by an audience altogether 
hospitable, but merciless in its criticism. In 
an eastern city, where lectures were abundant 
and varied, he would have for listeners those 
who knew him ; but in the western commu- 
nity he reached all. Men and women wholly 
different from him in social position, creed, 
political party, even moral convictions, came to 
hear him just the same; and the hackman who 
brought him from the little inn hitched his 
horses at the door and came in to criticise the 
lecture. It was in one sense more of an ordeal 
to face the audience of a country town than 
that of a city, from the very fact that the 
speaker had the whole town to hear him, to pass 
a verdict upon voice, dress, and opinions. In a 
majority of cases, the speaker spent in the 
sleeping-car the night intervening between two 
lectures, and as he sat for a while over the fire 
in the smoking-compartment before turning in, 
he was very likely unrecognized, and called 
upon to discuss the features of his own lecture 
or take a hand in the funeral of his own reputa- 
tion. Emerson wrote in his diary, " I never go 
to any church like a railroad car for teaching 
me my deficiencies." 

The immediate author of the whole system 
of teaching American audiences by courses of 
Lyceum lectures was doubtless Horace Mann, 



AMERICAN AUDIENCES 79 

who became secretary of the Board of Educa- 
tion of Massachusetts in 1837. Mann held this 
post for eleven years, during which, as he testi- 
fies, he did not allow himself a day for relaxa- 
tion, or an evening for a friend's society, but 
traveled constantly about the state, impressing 
on every town the need of popular education. 
It was not long before other highly educated 
men, among whom Emerson and Sumner were 
leaders, adopted the same path. Emerson, it 
is recorded, lectured twenty successive years 
in Salem, Massachusetts ; and the present 
writer, being called upon to manage for the 
first time a course of Lyceum lectures in New- 
buryport, Massachusetts, in 1847, found him- 
self expected to include Emerson every year 
and pay him twenty dollars a lecture, while no 
other speaker received more than fifteen. Of 
course the lecture system soon spread rapidly 
westward, though never southward. At first 
there were no professional lecturers, but each 
course had a few stars from a distance, and 
was mainly carried on by the professional men 
of the neighborhood, even as Thackeray's 
Barnes Newcome addressed his English con- 
stituents on " The Poetry of the Domestic 
Affections." In America, poetry and even sci- 
ence held the field only for a time; and public 
questions of all sorts took their places, until 



80 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

there were signs of danger lest these depart- 
ments of wisdom should exclude all others, and 
the popular lecture should represent only what 
had hitherto been designated irreverently as 
the stump. Above all, the desire prevailed to 
see every performer in his war paint, as it were, 
and take his measure. For this reason even 
the women lecturers, who soon took the field, 
found the elegances of costume a convenient 
aid ; and Anna Dickinson, for a long time the 
most popular of this class, swept the rough 
floors of many a barnlike lecture-room with 
expensive silks, excusing herself on the simple 
plea that audiences liked to see them. 

Financially, the lecture system was at its 
highest in America soon after the Civil War, 
when all prices were high ; and a hundred dol- 
lars were paid for a lecture more readily than 
fifty dollars earlier or later. It was thought a 
bold thing in Henry Ward Beecher when he 
raised his price to two hundred dollars, but 
Gough and Anna Dickinson soon followed his 
example. Gough 's income from this source ex- 
tended far beyond the ordinary Lyceum sea- 
son, including indeed the whole year round, 
and was popularly estimated at thirty thousand 
dollars a year. When I was first planning to 
raise a regiment during the Civil War, I went 
to him to urge him to become chaplain of it, 




HENRY WARD BEECHER 



AMERICAN AUDIENCES 81 

justly holding that he would exert over the sol- 
diers a great moral power. But he convinced 
me that he was already committed to send a 
long list of young men to college, and must 
look to his next year's lectures to give him the 
money for that. 

There were at first very few women on the 
lecture platform, and they were only very 
slowly borrowed from the anti-slavery and tem- 
perance reforms, where they took an earlier 
place. This fact was more definitely empha- 
sized for a time in the year when a " World's 
Temperance Convention," having been called 
in New York and taken up with much and 
varied energy, was split from the very out- 
set by the refusal of the more conservative to 
allow women on the platform, this resulting in 
two distinct organizations : the World's Tem- 
perance Convention and the Whole World's 
Temperance Convention, at which latter the 
present writer presided. In a similar way, 
there were divisions among the male lecturers, 
resulting not merely from opinions, but from 
occupations ; the lawyers and the clergymen 
furnishing most of the lecturers at the outset, 
although these orators steadily tended to be- 
come a class by themselves. There were from 
the beginning grades of popularity, roughly 
marked by the prices paid the lecturers. Gough, 



82 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

Beecher, and Chapin stood easily at the head : 
then followed Charles Sumner, George William 
Curtis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore 
Parker, Wendell Phillips, Bayard Taylor, Dr. 
O. W. Holmes, Edwin P. Whipple, and Fred- 
erick Douglass. Great lawyers, as Daniel Web- 
ster and Rufus Choate, took their share of the 
service, when permitted by their professional 
engagements. Temporary political prominence 
easily brought forward a lecturer ; as, for in- 
stance, John P. Hale, whose prominence as an 
anti-slavery leader in the national Senate led 
to his appearing before a great Boston audience 
on an occasion where I remember to have sat 
next to Emerson, who, like most of the audience, 
had never seen Hale before, and studied his 
appearance with interest. His final verdict as 
expressed to me was this: "See what an aver- 
age-looking man he is. Looks just like five hun- 
dred other men. That must be where his power 
lies." This remark was soon verified from a dif- 
ferent standpoint by the ablest lawyer of that 
day, Benjamin R. Curtis, who went up to New 
Hampshire to argue a law case in which Hale 
was his opponent. He was perfectly astonished, 
it appears, by the outcome. " I had with me all 
the evidence and all the argument, but that con- 
founded fellow, Hale, got so intimate with the 
jury that I could do nothing with them." These 






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AMERICAN AUDIENCES 83 

men, and such as these, were the lecturers of 
that day, and some of them, no doubt, were led 
to judge of their auditors very much as Curtis 
condemned his jurymen. 

In respect to audiences, there was inevitably 
some difference between the older and newer 
communities. Western emigration took away 
from the leading towns, as it still continues 
to take away, many of the brighter minds and 
more energetic natures. It also removed more 
of the light weights, and therefore had a min- 
gled result. In the choice of lecturers and the 
preference of themes a more intellectual quality 
was perhaps visible in the audiences left at the 
East. In some of the older towns, especially, 
the lecturer found himself confronted with 
what seemed a solid body of somewhat recu- 
sant and distrustful hearers, and went home 
discouraged, only to be assured in the next 
morning's local newspaper that his hearers 
had been greatly pleased. As compared to 
these, a western audience would almost always 
be more demonstrative as to approval or dis- 
approval, or more prone to exhibit vacant seats 
upon the benches as the lecture went on. A 
story was told of the elder Richard H. Dana, 
the poet, that, becoming gradually more dis- 
turbed by such repeated interruptions, he once 
calmly paused and said with dignity to his 



84 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

hearers that as he feared he was not successful 
in interesting them, he would pause for five 
minutes and give those who wished to with- 
draw the opportunity of doing so. He sat down, 
closed his eyes, and when he opened them 
again more than three quarters of his audience 
had vanished. 

I remember well to have again discovered 
this same difference, in the early days of Rad- 
cliffe College, when I had been invited to read 
Browning to a number of the pupils at some 
private rooms ; although in that case the dif- 
ference was indicated more agreeably. I had 
chosen for reading " The Flight of the Duchess," 
as covering a greater range of variety between 
gay and serious than any other poem of the 
same length. I saw before me on the front 
seat a number of maidens having a grave and 
thoughtful appearance, and in the back part 
of the room a group of young girls of whose 
attention I did not feel quite so sure. As the 
reading proceeded, the former sat without 
moving a muscle ; they seemed thoroughly at- 
tentive, but it was impossible for me to tell 
whether the reading met with their approval, 
and indeed whether the poem itself did. This 
was disappointing, and I found myself address- 
ing my words more and more to the distant 
group, who listened with equal faithfulness, 



AMERICAN AUDIENCES 85 

but seemed to smile or sigh with the poet him- 
self, so that I could have asked no pleasanter 
audience. When I mingled with my auditors, 
after the reading was over, I found that those 
from whom my discouragement had come were 
all faithful students of Browning, and had, 
by their own statement, enjoyed the reading. 
Their questions and criticisms were of the 
most satisfactory and even suggestive kind; 
while the girls in the rear, who came forward 
with the greatest cordiality to meet me, had 
been hitherto absolutely unacquainted with 
Browning, and were going home to read him. 
Nothing indicates better than this the shade 
of difference which may still be found linger- 
ing between eastern and western audiences. It 
must be remembered, however, that the greater 
ease of intercommunication tends constantly 
to equalize these, like all other variations. 

It is a curious bit of tradition, kept over 
from a time when all public addresses were 
sermons, that audiences in the days of the 
Lyceum were decidedly more tolerant as to 
length, in listening to a lecture, than would 
now be the case. This was true, for instance, 
with Theodore Parker's lecture on the Anglo- 
Saxons, which was a favorite with audiences, 
although it was two hours long and made up 
of solid fact with almost no anecdotes or illus- 



S6 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

trations. Another remarkable triumph was 
also achieved in my hearing by an orator whose 
style of speaking was marked by force rather 
than grace; this being true in the case of 
Charles Sumner. He had been invited to 
Worcester, when I lived there, to give his ar- 
gument in favor of accepting the new constitu- 
tion framed for the State by the Constitutional 
Convention in 1853, of which he had been a 
member. The address began at eight, but I 
was delayed by other engagements, and did 
not arrive there until quarter past ten, when 
Sumner was evidently drawing a prolonged 
paragraph to a close. I regarded the audience 
rather with pity, because Worcester was then 
a place of quiet habits and early hours. He 
was finishing his sentence, however, in his 
somewhat stately and ponderous way, saying, 
" I have now refuted, as I think, the twelfth argu- 
ment brought against a new constitution. I 
pass to a thirteenth objection ; " this last offer 
being followed by a round of applause. It is 
fair to say that, in spite of this cordial response, 
the new constitution was defeated by an over- 
whelming majority which included, I believe, 
the city of Worcester, 

Every lecturer had, through such tests, the 
inestimable advantage of learning day by day 
something of his own strong points, and yet 



AMERICAN AUDIENCES 87 

more of his weak ones. He might go to his 
rest soothed by a sense of success or harrowed 
by the thought of some fatal blunder. It 
was, of course, possible for him to receive only 
well-based or well-worded compliments. It 
was, alas, more possible, nay probable, that 
the speaker might be haunted for twenty-four 
hours, waking or sleeping, by the ghost of some 
error, called forth from an exhausted mind. 
These misfortunes happen to everybody, and 
their only compensation is the slight comfort 
of observing that there still remain audiences 
which can stand a great deal in the way of 
blunder; at least till they have had some hours 
for reflection on it. I remember quoting once, 
in a rural anti-slavery convention, a passage 
from Wendell Phillips, comparing slavery and 
war; and after enumerating the daily trage- 
dies of slavery, I closed with his fine cadence, 
" Where is the battlefield that is not white, 
white as an angel's wing, compared with the 
blackness of that darkness which has brooded 
over the Carolinas for centuries ! " I presently 
discovered, by the chuckling of some young 
women in the back seats, that I had substituted, 
in my enthusiasm, a raven's wing for an angel's, 
— " white as a raven's wing," I had said, — and I 
could only stumble on the hasty excuse of " the 
tendency of slavery to confuse black and white " 



88 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

in order to withdraw myself from the difficulty, 
if that was to be called withdrawing. Even in 
the midst of my mishap, however, I could take 
some satisfaction in watching the compara- 
tive degrees of slowness with which the rather 
rustic audience detected my mistake, and the 
gradual smile which broke over the faces of 
partially deaf uncles, in the extreme back- 
ground, to whom the error was being slowly 
explained by patient but smiling nieces. 

These are the blunders which were some- 
times visited only too severely in those earlier 
days upon the often exhausted traveling ora- 
tor. On the other hand, the Lyceum gave to 
the literary man, especially, not only a differ- 
ent form of reaching the public, but a readier 
test of his own powers. He must face the people, 
eye to eye, as absolutely and irresistibly as 
does a statue in the public square. This test 
was a severe one for the over-sensitive or those 
ill furnished with voice or presence. Horace 
Greeley got the better of a large western audi- 
ence which had assembled to meet him for the 
first time, by an opening sentence which told its 
own story. " I suppose it to be a fact univer- 
sally admitted," he said, " that I am the worst 
public speaker in America." The very defects 
of his manner justly implied that he must have 
something worth hearing in spite of them, and 



AMERICAN AUDIENCES 89 

so his hearers listened. But if every speaker 
had his rebuffs, he might also, if he watched 
carefully, see his own progress. It is one of the 
pleasures of public speaking that there is some- 
times drawn from the speaker some happy' 
phrase or sentence of argument or illustration 
such as he has vainly sought by the fireside or 
in the study, so that he has found himself say- 
ing to another what he could not possibly have 
said first to himself. 

Personally, I was for three years an officer 
of a lecture association in Worcester, Massa- 
chusetts, whose net annual profits for that time 
averaged twelve hundred dollars, after paying 
to each lecturer an average price of a hundred 
dollars. It is pleasant to know that the pro- 
ceeds of this course became the foundation 
of the excellent natural history collection of 
that city. It is also pleasant for me to remem- 
ber that my connection with it brought the only 
interview I ever had with Thackeray, who was 
invited to be one of the speakers in this course, 
and who declined the invitation on the ground 
that some other course had offered him a larger 
sum. I remember how pleased his kindly face 
looked when, after he had stammered out an 
awkward refusal on this ground, I assured him 
that no apology was needed in America for 
accepting a higher compensation instead of a 



90 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

lower one. The suggestion seemed to relieve 
his mind to a rather amusing extent, though 
I had supposed it to be one of those obvious 
doctrines which the light of nature sufficiently 
teaches. It was more easily learned by another 
lecturer, of much note in his day, who was 
offered, within my knowledge, twelve thousand 
dollars a year on the assurance that he would 
give his time solely to editing a certain New 
York weekly paper, or else five thousand with 
the privilege of lecturing as much as he pleased. 
By his own statement he unhesitatingly chose 
the latter. 

Most valuable of all the experiences gained 
by the American lecturer was, perhaps, his in- 
creased knowledge of his own nation, and his 
appreciation of its vastness. I remember my 
delight when a woman at whose house I once 
stayed in Nebraska, on being complimented 
upon her selection of an abode, replied with 
some discontent that she did not like living in 
the western country so well as living in Illinois, 
as if Illinois had not then seemed to me nearly 
as far off as Nebraska ; and I recall with delight 
an occasion on a night train over the Michigan 
Central Railway when the conductor had just 
called " London," and a wondering little girl 
sprang from the seat in front of me, saying 
to her mamma, " Oh, mamma, do we really 



AMERICAN AUDIENCES 91 

pass through London, that great city? " Plea- 
sant sometimes, though sometimes fatiguing, 
were the casual intimacies with strangers of 
all degrees : as when a young schoolgirl once 
opened a long traveling conversation with me 
in Iowa, which she justified by an apology 
when we parted, saying that she thought I 
looked like one who might like to read Ruskin. 
It was refreshing, too, when a young child 
traveling eastward from the far West held a 
conversation close beside me with a very pallid 
and worn-out mother, which perhaps deserves 
narrating more fully. I never saw a woman 
more utterly exhausted, while the child seemed 
as fresh at sunset as at dawn. It was when the 
through trains on the Boston and Albany still 
stopped at West Newton, and the conductor 
had just called with vigorous confidence the 
name of that station. After a pause, the child 
exclaimed as vigorously " Mother," to which 
the mother responded, perhaps for the two hun- 
dredth time that day, in a feeble voice, " What, 
dear ? " when the following conversation en- 
sued : " What did that man say, mother ? " 
" He said West Newton." A pause for reflec- 
tion, then again "Mother." "What?" "What 
did that man say West Newton for, mother ? " 
To this the mother, with an evasiveness dic- 
tated by despair, could only murmur " I don't 



92 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

know." This was plainly too well-tried an eva- 
sion, and the unflinching answer came, " Don't 
you know what he said West Newton for, 
mother ? " She, being thus pursued, fell back 
on the vague answer, " Said it for the fun of 
it, I guess." By this time all the occupants 
of the car were listening breathlessly to the 
cross-examination. Then came the inevitable 
11 Mother," and the more and more hopeless 
" What ? " " Did that man say West Newton 
for the fun of it, mother ? " " Yes," said the 
poor sufferer, with an ever increasing audience 
listening to her vain evasion. The child paused 
an atom longer; and then continued, still inex- 
haustible, but as if she had forced her victim 
into the very last corner, as she certainly had, 
" What was the fun of it, mother? " Upon this, 
the whole audience involuntarily applauded, 
and did not quite cease its applause until the 
train finally stopped in Boston. It is possible 
that more than one lecturer returning home 
from a long trip, and hearing these successive 
inquiries, may have asked of himself a similar 
question. Yet there was unquestionably fun in 
a western lecture tour, after all. 



V 

THE ARISTOCRACY OF THE 
DOLLAR 

IT is much to be doubted whether any 
marriage contract in history had ever a 
simpler or compacter basis than that between 
the celebrated Dr. Samuel Johnson and the 
lady who became his wife. It stands recorded, 
not in Boswell's Life of him, but in the scarcely 
less entertaining letters of his contemporary, 
Miss Anna Seward. He told the object of his 
affections that he was, in the first place, of 
mean extraction ; that, in the second place, he 
had no money; and that, in the third place, 
he had had an uncle hanged. Not to be out- 
done, the lady replied as promptly that she 
valued no man the more or the less for his 
parentage; that as to money, she had none 
herself ; and that, in regard to his last point, 
although she had never had a near relative lit- 
erally and actually hanged, she had at least 
twenty who deserved to be. It is needless to 
say that a marriage between two such congenial 
spirits followed, and that it was, all things 



94 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

considered, fairly happy. It is worth noticing, 
also, that the two lovers sketched out uncon- 
sciously the successive phases of social struc- 
ture which have prevailed in the world. Society 
must always have some kind of aristocracy or 
leadership, some standard of social precedence. 
The aristocracy of birth is one form of this 
standard; that of wealth is another; while that 
of wisdom, of virtue, and of never having had a 
relative hanged is still another. Let us for the 
present confine ourselves to the first two of 
these alternatives. 

We are living in a transition period of our 
social history. The aristocracy of birth is pass- 
ing away. The aristocracy of wealth is coming 
forward. This in its turn may yield to some- 
thing better. There is certainly room for it ! 
But standing as we do beside the death-bed of 
one form of social organization and the cradle 
of another, it is worth while to compare their 
merits. There are tnose who honestly believe 
that in losing hereditary aristocracy the world 
is losing much, and who see a formidable 
danger in the aristocracy of wealth. Others 
maintain, as sincerely, that this movement is 
a step forward and not backward. It is a good 
time to set the two side by side and see how 
far the world is likely to lose or gain by the 
exchange. 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 95 

In all Europe, of the hereditary governing 
bodies which once ruled it, there is left to-day 
but one, the English House of Lords. In one 
or two other countries, such as Austria and 
Prussia, the upper chamber contains the hered- 
itary element, but it is never exclusive, while 
the English House of Lords stands by itself. 
It is, indeed, in one respect more aristocratic 
than in the Middle Ages, because in those days 
it consisted quite largely of an appointive body, 
the dignitaries of the church, who had com- 
monly risen from the ranks of the people, and 
whose position was not hereditary. This life 
element, comprising the bishops, has now been 
reduced, as Goldwin Smith once said, "to com- 
parative insignificance in point of numbers, 
and to almost total insignificance in point of 
influence." This impairing of power further 
extends to the whole body of the House of 
Lords from the very dignity of its traditions, 
and from the recent origin of most of its peer- 
ages. Not only do very few of these date back 
as far as the landing of the Pilgrims in Amer- 
ica, but the very membership of the House, 
and consequently its voting power, depends at 
any moment on the action of the King. When 
the Reform Bill was carried, June 7, 1832, by 
the express promise of the King to create new 
peers enough, if needful, to carry it through 



96 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

the Lords, the Lords became from that mo- 
ment, for practical action, a wholly secondary 
body; a system of brakes — not of wheels — for 
the car of state. It is becoming filled, accord- 
ingly, as Mr. Bodley tells us in his " France," 
with " newly made peers, who prevail upon the 
editors of peerages to erase from their pedi- 
grees the worthy aldermen who founded their 
fortunes, and accord them forefathers who 
performed feats at Hastings unknown to the 
workers of the Bayeux tapestry" (ii, 375). We 
see the outcome in the criticisms of "Vanity 
Fair" on London society: "In Rome and Vi- 
enna, and even in republican Paris, London 
society has become a laughing-stock. Blood, 
pride of race, what are these ? Where are they 
nowadays ? Money, above all the willingness to 
entertain, these are the pass-keys to what was 
once a fortress to be entered by birth, and by 
birth alone." 

For the aristocracy of birth, the English 
basis was the law of primogeniture, which Dr. 
Johnson maintained to be a good law, because 
it made only one fool in each family. Yet we 
forget how few years it is since, in some of our 
older American colonies, the traditions of Old 
England were still upheld, in this respect, and 
hereditary forces ruled the state. I remember 
talking once with a Rhode Islander, now an 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 97 

aged man, who recalled the time when he had 
returned from India, after a five years' absence, 
and who had then voted when but one day in 
port, because he was the oldest son of his 
father. 

Nothing, indeed, now remains in America 
which so recalls the feudal system as the whole 
region of the Narragansett country in Rhode 
Island, where one still sees the remains of a 
class of buildings differing in kind from any now 
erected. They represent great square houses 
of fifty or a hundred and fifty feet front, with 
drawing-rooms twenty feet square and from 
fourteen to sixteen feet high. There were two 
stories, with high gambrel attics for the slaves, 
who often occupied outbuildings, also. The 
houses were so large that in one of them, the 
old Potter house, there occurred a house-warm- 
ing of three days and nights, during which the 
old father and mother, in their out-of-the-way 
rooms, never learned that anything was going 
on. Under the law of primogeniture, then pre- 
vailing, the households were on such a scale 
that one of these magnates, Robert Hazard, is 
said to have boasted of economy, when he 
brought his family down to seventy persons. 
He owned twelve thousand acres, kept fox- 
hounds, four thousand sheep, one hundred and 
fifty cows, and fourteen saddle-horses. He 



98 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

employed twelve negro dairymaids, each with 
a small girl to wait upon her, by whose joint 
labors from twelve to twenty-four cheeses were 
made every day in the year for family con- 
sumption ; and, let us hope, people took exer- 
cise enough to digest the product. These are, 
at any rate, the still living traditions of the 
Narragansett country as they prevailed thirty 
years ago. 

In a similar way an almost feudal system of 
proprietorship was tried on the Hudson, and 
went down in the "anti-rent war." In the cata- 
logues of our early colleges, the names of stu- 
dents were not arranged alphabetically, as now, 
but according to the relative social position 
of students' families, this lasting until 1767 at 
Yale, and until 1772 at Harvard. The Soci- 
ety of the Cincinnati was undoubtedly relied 
upon by many as a step toward hereditary aris- 
tocracy. But what came of it ? You hear of a 
few quiet, elderly gentlemen as eating an an- 
nual dinner together, and that is all the world 
knows of it. Thus easily have died out all efforts 
to establish such hereditary classes among us. 
Yet I can remember when it was jocosely said 
of some families of Massachusetts that they 
claimed to have had, in the time of Noah's 
deluge, a boat to themselves ; and I can recall, 
on the other hand, when a social aspirant in 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 99 

Boston asked, " Who belong to the really old 
families, grandmamma ? " and that relative 
shook her weary head and said, " Mostly no 
one, my dear." 

The advance in the standard of wealth in 
the last century is recognized by all as some- 
thing formidable. In the writer's boyhood, John 
P. Gushing was the only man in Boston, or its 
vicinity, who was suspected of being a million- 
aire ; and even in his case some regarded such 
wealth as incredible. He was an essentially 
modest, retiring man, and said to a lady of my 
acquaintance, who ventured to reproach him 
for having holes in his shoes, that he knew no 
real advantage of wealth, except to be able to 
wear one's old shoes without criticism. But 
what is a million dollars to-day ? To the eyes 
of many it represents economy, almost pov- 
erty; at any rate, a step toward the almshouse. 
John Jacob Astor was said to be worth twenty 
millions, and that was such a colossal fortune, 
people had again to alter their standard of 
figures in arithmetic. After this, Commodore 
Vanderbilt's forty millions seemed but a step, 
and the next Vanderbilt's two hundred millions 
were not so wholly startling. Yet men looked 
with commiseration on the division of this last 
fortune by his published will. Sixty millions 



ioo PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

to each of two sons, and the rest of the family 
cut off with ten millions apiece ! Men felt like 
taking up a contribution in the churches. Yet 
what seemed even these wonders compared 
with the personal fortunes of the present day! 
Let us look first at the alarming side of this 
rapid growth of wealth. First comes its possi- 
ble interference with our whole system of local 
government. A successful merchant of the last 
generation in Boston felt the increasing burden 
of taxation so heavily that he moved from the 
city to a country town where his father had 
been a modest clergyman. Inquiring of the 
town officials as to his taxation, they hesitated 
a little to reply, as if wishing to deal gently 
with the brilliant fish thus migrating to their 
quiet pool. To solve the problem, he suggested 
that they send him the town bills as presented 
for the coming year, and let him try a finan- 
cial experiment. He then paid them all in suc- 
cession, and thereby saved twenty thousand 
dollars on his annual tax, as paid hitherto in 
Boston. The selectmen, meanwhile, collected 
of all other taxpayers their usual amount, 
made a separate fund of it, and spent that in 
securing the best roads and sign-boards in the 
county. It was all very well in this instance. 
But suppose a series of millionaires migrat- 
ing to a series of country towns, what would 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 101 

be the result, and how long before we should 
have a new form of feudalism ? This was one 
question to be seriously raised, and soon there 
were others. 

How is it all to end, men asked, this new 
development ? Consider history, they said. We 
can readily understand how the castles on the 
Rhine went down. The traveler visits their 
terrible torture-chambers, their oubliettes, and 
then reads the tale of the free burghers, the 
weavers and lace-makers of the Low Countries 
who swept down that beautiful valley and made 
an end of feudalism. No such easy process 
suggests itself amid the complications of mod- 
ern labor; and should a new race, born of 
sudden wealth, arise, what would it be ? How 
many generations would it take to secure good 
manners, for instance, in the new masters of the 
community ? What will become of the refine- 
ments of life, if all the guidance of good society 
is to be transferred to the hands of those who 
have spent the prime of their existence in 
making money? 

It is to be noticed, moreover, that the very 
men who repudiated the coat-of-arms were the 
men most eager to assume it when they once had 
an excuse. How rarely do you find in society 
the men who have the courage to tell the exact 
truth about their own antecedents! It is so 



102 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

exceptional that, wherever it is done, it fills us 
with admiration. Pope Urban IV was the son 
of a cobbler, and had pursued that vocation 
himself, and so, with proper pride, he used a 
cobbler's tools as his symbol. Bishop Willegis, 
who was brought up as a wheelwright, becom- 
ing at last a bishop, and being entitled to a 
coat-of-arms, found, when he went to take pos- 
session of his palace, that the little boys had 
been chalking wheels all over the walls. Being 
a man of sense, he put a wheel upon his coat- 
of-arms, and the little boys lost their fun, while 
the price of chalk went down. 

Again, in Frankfort, over the door of the 
house where Goethe was born, may be seen the 
coat-of-arms assumed, in a manner, by his fa- 
ther. The elder Goethe was descended from 
a blacksmith, and he wished to put three horse- 
shoes over his door for a crest ; but his archi- 
tect, wishing the fact to appear to the utmost 
advantage, wove those horseshoes into the 
shape of a musical lyre, and thus unconsciously 
predicted that within those walls the greatest of 
modern poets should be born. How fine is all 
this, yet how vainly one may watch along the 
streets of any fashionable watering-place for 
any carriage panel that might have been de- 
signed by Pope Urban, Bishop Willegis, or the 
elder Goethe ; and how many of these panels 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 103 

represent a dragon or unicorn or griffin, some 
creature out of whose hide and horn no one 
ever made a living since the world began. Not 
one of these even rivaled the traditional motto 
of Senator Philetus Sawyer of Wisconsin, who, 
having gained a fortune by the honest pursuit 
his name implied, adorned his carriage with 
the Latin word " Vidi," which, being translated, 
signifies " I saw." 

No doubt there were facts enough on which 
to base all this solicitude, yet there is another 
side. The aristocracy based on the dollar has 
its own weaknesses and follies, but it has cer- 
tain merits. Its first merit is that it belongs to 
the present, not to the past ; it represents some- 
thing that is being done, or has lately been 
done, whether for good or evil ; not something 
which has long gone by. When Theodore 
Parker first visited Cincinnati, at that time the 
recognized leader among western cities, he 
said that he had made a great discovery, namely, 
that while the aristocracy of Cincinnati was 
unquestionably founded on pork, it made a 
great difference whether a man killed pigs for 
himself, or whether his father had killed them. 
The one was held plebeian, the other patrician. 
It was the difference, Parker said, between 
the stick 'ems and the stuck "ems ; and his own 



104 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

sympathies, he confessed, were with the present 
tense. It was, in other words, aristocracy in the 
making. It stood for a race which had found 
forests to be cleared, streams to be bridged, and 
roads to be built ; the dollar was not only be- 
hind these forms of service, but it was the cor- 
ner-stone of the schoolhouse and the church. 
It predicted a civilization which should belong 
to to-day, not to yesterday ; and belonging to 
to-day, should also predict to-morrow. 

Out of this close allegiance to the present 
tense, the aristocracy of the dollar has derived 
several other advantages. It has always emerged, 
within a generation or two at the farthest, from 
the ranks of the plain people, and thus always 
seems nearer to them. It takes for that reason 
the color of its time. It is not too permanent. 
It finds sympathies at home, and spends its 
money there : in three quarters of the towns 
in Massachusetts, for example, you find a town 
hall or a public library that was presented 
by some native of the town. It is not easily 
crushed or even intimidated ; so that it is not 
uncommon to find a man who has made one 
or two fortunes and lost them, and is now rest- 
ing on his third. It appreciates other forms 
of influence than its own, and has a secret 
reverence for science, for history, and even for 
literature. 



*>< =: 




THEODORE PARKER 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 105 

None are more ready than rich men to re- 
cognize that while one man makes money in 
business, another may devote himself to intel- 
lectual pursuits. The elder Agassiz once re- 
fused a profitable course of lectures on the 
ground that he had not, just then, the time to 
make money. If mere material wealth is all 
that is thought of among business men, he 
would have been thought fit for an insane 
hospital, but as it was, he was all the more 
respected. Those who say that our people look 
merely at wealth take a very superficial view. 
As a rule, men do not know who is the richest 
man in the next city or the next state. Mere 
wealth has, after all, a very limited reputation 
compared with that of intellect. An English 
novelist comes here, and every town hall is 
open to him; a Swedish peasant girl comes 
to sing to us, and we pay any price to hear. 
Bring forward your art and your genius, the 
community seems to say, and we will provide 
the money. Let an ordinary millionaire land 
at the wharf, on the other hand, and no more 
attention is paid to him than if he were an 
ex-governor. The very fact that the pursuit 
of wealth among us demands rare talent and 
energy seems of itself to create respect for 
those same qualities when manifested in other 
ways. 



106 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

Why did the aristocracy of parentage fail to 
hold its own ? Why did it die out in America 
and, practically speaking, in all the British col- 
onies ? It had every advantage at the outset ; 
it held the inside track. It failed because two 
great laws of the universe were against it : first, 
the laws of arithmetic, and, secondly, the laws of 
physiology. It violated the principles of arith- 
metic because it required that each individual 
or household should have a distinct line of 
ancestors, and it would thus be discovered in 
a few generations that there were not nearly 
enough ancestors to go round, leaving people 
in the position of Mark Twain, who declared 
that he had " no parents to speak of, only a 
father and mother or so." It was contrary to 
the laws of physiology, as shown by the dete- 
rioration of one royal family after another in 
Europe, these having come to resemble those 
English race horses which have so much blood 
that there is very little horse, and it must be 
replenished from a more plebeian stock. 

To sum it all up, the strength of hereditary 
aristocracy lay, undoubtedly, in a sort of accu- 
mulated self-respect ; the coats-of-arms may or 
may not have been given originally for great 
deeds, but memory or imagination gradually 
assigned them to that origin as time went 
on. As Marmontel nicely defined it, " Nobility 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 107 

of birth is a letter of credit given us on our 
country, upon the security of our ancestors, in 
the conviction that at a proper period of life 
we shall acquit ourselves with honor to those 
who stand engaged for us." On the other hand, 
the strength of the newer form of aristocracy 
lies in its greater nearness to the community 
at large, as being of more recent and tangible 
origin, and as usually showing some special 
visible gift or faculty in those who represent it. 
Its beginning may have been never so humble, 
yet these qualities bear some vague promise 
of its future. 

The thing which most puzzled that early 
traveler in America, Captain Basil Hall, in 
1827, was to see on the high road a pig-driver 
wearing spectacles ; and it is only a few years 
since a newly arrived Englishman mentioned 
to me, as something requiring explanation, that 
he had seen somebody in a full suit of black 
broadcloth feeding hogs. I had a call, many 
years since, from a young lady, well-dressed, 
well-bred, and of American birth, who wished 
to be hired to do housework, and stipulated 
that she should bring her own piano. I met 
lately a man whose professions were farm- 
ing, cigar-making, running a sawmill, ice-cut- 
ting, sailing a fishing schooner, and peddling 
parched-corn candy balls. The average life of 



108 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

a college boy might furnish material for that 
book entitled the " Romance of a Poor Young 
Man ; " and we all make a living, as Shake- 
speare's Touchstone threatens to kill his rival, 
in a hundred and fifty different ways. No 
doubt plenty of young people are now born 
rich, but they are very rarely people whose 
grandparents had that experience. The com- 
munity watches them with some interest to 
discover whether they are to furnish new illus- 
trations of the rural American proverb that it 
takes but three generations to go from shirt- 
sleeves to shirt-sleeves. 

After all, the worship of the dollar is but 
the foam upon the advancing wave of modern 
civilization. It breaks into spray and van- 
ishes, even while we gaze. Even now there are 
not a score of men in America who are known 
by name throughout the land for their wealth 
alone ; but a young man who makes a single 
brilliant speech at a political meeting, or a 
young girl who writes a clever story, may wake 
up some fine morning and encounter a fame 
spread from Maine to California, before either 
of them has made enough money out of it to 
pay a washerwoman's bill. " The whole inter- 
est of history," says Emerson, "lies in the for- 
tunes of the poor." All the novels are full of 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 109 

the enjoyments of wealth ; but who celebrates 
the joys of poverty? The pride of its little pru- 
dences, the joy of its wholesome abstinences, 
the magnificent delight of its occasional holi- 
days ; — who but Dickens ever described them ? 
Who but his little Jacob ever knew what oys- 
ters were, or really saw a play ? Enjoyment 
does not lie in quantity but in quality. The 
first book is worth the library ; the first cheap 
engraving may give more lasting pleasure than 
the picture gallery that follows. How few 
really cheerful faces one sees in the carriages 
on a fashionable avenue ; in the carriage, for 
instance, of Mrs. Croesus, who thinks it her 
duty to drive, " in order to air the horses." But 
what unutterable bliss is the Sunday afternoon 
drive to the overworked clerk, who has been 
putting by the two dollars for at least two 
years, and lying awake at night to decide on 
the cheapest livery stable ! True, Mrs. Croesus 
has the felicity of being the more stared at, 
but the young man has the profounder felicity 
of not caring whether he is stared at or not, 
so long as he — and the young woman — 
enjoy themselves. Thus the little boy who was 
seen asleep at the theatre, night after night, 
explained, toward the end of the season, to the 
sympathetic and inquiring stranger who waked 
him, " Ah, but you see, I have to come, I 've 



no PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

got a season ticket ! " Alas for wealth, which 
has season tickets for everything and gets the 
full relish out of nothing ! 

If the general tenor of this essay is thus far 
correct, it may be claimed that the aristocracy 
of the millionaires is only a prelude to the aris- 
tocracy of the millions. We talk of the upper 
ten thousand now, and may talk of the upper ten 
million by and by, and so on toward the whole 
population. As this advance is gradually made, 
we need not fear but that all the proprieties 
of life will follow, even if slowly. It is really 
a greater step to have taught a whole people 
to read and write than to have taught them 
all to carry themselves politely and to use their 
forks properly. I can remember well, in Amer- 
ican traveling fifty years ago, that one met 
with scarcely a person who did not eat with 
the knife; whereas now one would think, in 
hotel or steamboat, that every man was born, 
not with a silver spoon, but with a silver fork 
in his mouth. Once, in those days, a friend of 
mine, using a choice phrase at a western steam- 
boat table, was hailed by an unexpected voice : 
" That 's a very pretty word you made use of, 
stranger. Would you have the goodness to 
repeat that word ? " Such a condition of things 
made much of the popularity of English novels 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR in 

at that period. They were handbooks of good 
mariners for a public longing to be taught. Here 
were already twenty-five million people eager to 
learn the manners of duchesses. This spread 
the new fashions ; in older countries, dress was 
a badge ; the cook would lose her place if she 
ventured to wear a bonnet like that of her mis- 
tress. Here, if the mistress objected to the 
bonnet, she would lose her cook. 

In all this process of gradual development, 
wealth naturally takes the lead upon a path 
which tends, on the whole, upward. The aris- 
tocracy of the dollar may or may not prepare 
the way for anything better than its prede- 
cessor, but it will have its day. The aristocracy 
of birth yields, though reluctantly. A story is 
told of an Englishman who, after a delightful 
chat with Thackeray, whom he met as a stran- 
ger at a club in London, upon being told that 
it was a famous author to whom he had been 
talking, replied with surprise, " Is he an author? 
I had taken him for a gentleman." So Dr. 
Johnson, nearly two centuries ago, had defined 
an English merchant as "a new species of 
gentleman," and Lord Stanhope said, with un- 
doubted truth, that the only trade in which an 
English gentleman could then engage was that 
of a wine merchant. Travelers tell us of an 
instance in Scotland where, at a dinner party, 



U2 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

an upper servant was sent round beforehand 
to inquire how many acres of land each guest 
had inherited, so that they might be arranged 
at the table in their proper order. How child- 
ish these discriminations appear in a land 
where, as the newspapers lately informed us, a 
single resident of Rochester, New York, owned 
four hundred farms in different states in the 
Union, including thirty-five thousand acres 
in the state of Kentucky alone ; or where, as 
was stated not long since, one American citizen 
controlled two great telegraph lines across the 
continent and four out of the seven New York 
daily papers ! 

That the new aristocracy will have its own 
problems to meet is plain enough. One great 
problem lies already in the foreground. In 
Mr. Bodley's " France," generally recognized as 
one of the ablest of modern social studies, he 
tells us that in all the leading modern nations, 
whether styled republican or otherwise, soci- 
ety is no Jonger complex, but has practically 
become divided into only two social classes: 
" that which gains a livelihood by manual toil, 
and that which earns a living in other ways, 
or subsists on the interest of capital " (i, 9). Is 
this easy conclusion justified ? Now that mer- 
cantile life has come to be, as in America, a 
gentleman's employment, who can help seeing 



ARISTOCRACY OF THE DOLLAR 113 

that it only involves a question of time for 
mechanical occupations to receive the same 
recognition ? Who can go into a machine-shop 
of the present day without thinking how much 
more of intellect dwells in those wheels and 
bands than in the majority, not merely of 
counting-rooms, but even of court-rooms and 
pulpits ? 



VI 

"INTENSELY HUMAN " 

'\^[/ r HEN Major-General Rufus Saxton, 
* * then military governor of South Caro- 
lina, was solving triumphantly the original 
problem of the emancipated slaves, he was fre- 
quently interrupted by long lists of questions 
from Northern philanthropists as to the pro- 
gress of his enterprise. They inquired espe- 
cially as to the peculiar tastes, temptations, and 
perils of the newly emancipated race. After 
receiving one unusually elaborate catechism of 
this kind, he said rather impatiently to his sec- 
retary, " Draw a line across that whole list of 
questions about the freedmen, and write at the 
bottom, * They are intensely human/ " which 
was done. In those four words is given, in my 
opinion, the whole key to that problem peren- 
nially reviving, — the so-called "negro ques- 
tion." 

There prevailed, nearly sixty years ago, at 
the outset of the anti-slavery movement, a cu- 
rious impression that the only people who 
understood the negro were those who had seen 



INTENSELY HUMAN 115 

him in a state of subjection, and that those who 
advocated his cause at the North knew nothing 
about him. A similar delusion prevails at the 
present day, and not alone among those born 
and bred in the Southern states. I find in a 
book, otherwise admirable, — a recent Life of 
Whittier, — that the biographer not only speaks 
of the original anti-slavery movement as " ex- 
travagant and ill-informed," but says of Whit- 
tier and his associates, " Of the real negro, 
his capacities and limitations, he had, like his 
fellows, only a dim idea, based largely on theo- 
retic speculation." But, as a matter of fact, the 
whole movement originated with men who had 
learned by personal observation that the negro 
was intensely human, and who believed all 
necessary knowledge to be included in that 
fact. They were men and women who had been 
born in the slave country, or had personally re- 
sided there for years, if not for life. Benjamin 
Lundy in Virginia, Rankin in Tennessee, Gar- 
rison in Maryland, Birney in Alabama, Chan- 
ning in Virginia again, and the Grimke sisters 
in South Carolina, had gained on the spot that 
knowledge of slavery and slaves which made 
them Abolitionists. They had made observa- 
tions, and some of them — acting on the poet 
Gray's maxim that memory is ten times worse 
than a lead pencil — had written them down. 



u6 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

Added to this, they were constantly in com- 
munication with those who had escaped from 
slavery, and the very closeness of contact into 
which the two classes were thrown gave them 
added knowledge of each other. Indeed, the 
very first anti-slavery book which attained wide 
attention, known as " Walkers Appeal," pub- 
lished in 1829, was not written by a Northern 
man,but by one born in Wilmington, South Car- 
olina, of a free mother and a slave father, a man 
who had traveled widely through the South, 
expressly to study the degradation of his race, 
and had read what books of history he could pro- 
cure bearing upon the subject. His book went 
through three editions ; it advocated insurrec- 
tion more and more directly. But it was based 
absolutely on the Declaration of Independence, 
and on the theory that the negro was a man. 

It must be borne in mind that there never 
yet was an oppressed race which was not as- 
sumed by its oppressors to be incapable of free- 
dom. In a late volume of diplomatic correspond- 
ence compiled from letters of an Englishman 
(Anthony B. North Peat), written in 1864-69 
during the sway of Louis Napoleon, the letter- 
writer lays it down as a rule (p. 38) that " A 
Frenchman is not fit to be trusted with liberty. 
... A Frenchman is, more or less, born to be 
rode roughshod over, and he himself is posi- 



INTENSELY HUMAN 117 

tively happier when ruled with a rod of iron." 
Forty years have now passed since this was 
written, and who now predicts the extinction 
of the French Republic? It turned out just 
the same with those who predicted that the 
colored race in America was fitted only for 
slavery and would never attain freedom. 

If I may refer to my own experience as 
one of the younger Abolitionists, I can truly 
say that my discovery of the negro's essential 
manhood first came, long before I had heard of 
the anti-slavery agitation, from a single remark 
of a slave made to my mother when she was 
traveling in Virginia in my childhood. After 
some efforts on her part to convince him that 
he was well off, he only replied, " Ah ! Missis, 
free breath is good ! " There . spoke, even to 
my childish ear, the instinctive demand of the 
human being. To this were afterwards added 
my own observations when visiting in the same 
state during a college vacation, at the age of 
seventeen, and observing the actual slaves on 
a plantation ; which experience was afterwards 
followed by years of intimate acquaintance with 
fugitive slaves in Massachusetts. It was the 
natural result of all this that, when called upon 
in maturer life to take military command of 
freed slaves, it never occurred to me to doubt 
that they would fight like any other men for 



u8 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

their liberty, and so it proved. Yet I scarcely 
ever met a man or woman of Southern birth, 
during all that interval, who would not have 
laughed at the very thought of making them 
soldiers. They were feared as midnight plot- 
ters, as insurrectionists, disciples of Nat Turner, 
whose outbreak in 1831 filled the South with 
terror ; but it was never believed, for a moment, 
that they would stand fire in the open field 
like men. Yet they proved themselves intensely 
human and did it. 

Nor was their humanity recognized by the 
general public sentiment, even at the North, in 
earlier days. Even in Massachusetts, law or cus- 
tom not only forbade any merchant or respect- 
able mechanic to take a colored apprentice, but 
any common carrier by land or sea was ex- 
pected to eject from his conveyance any negro 
on complaint of any white passenger ; and I can 
myself remember when a case of this occurred 
in Cambridge in my childhood, within sight of 
the Washington Elm. Churches still had negro 
pews, these being sometimes boarded up in 
front, so that the occupants could only look out 
through peep-holes, as was once done in the old 
Baptist meeting-house at Hartford, Connecti- 
cut, where a negro had bought a pew and re- 
fused to leave it. Or the owner might be ejected 
by a constable, as happened in Park Street 



INTENSELY HUMAN 119 

Church, Boston; or the floor be cut from under 
the negro's pew by the church authorities, as 
happened in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Even 
in places like the Quaker town of New Bed- 
ford, where pupils of both colors were admitted 
to the public schools, the black boys were 
seated by themselves, and white offenders were 
punished by being obliged to sit with them. 
So far was this carried that it excited the indig- 
nation of the European world, insomuch that 
Heine in his letters from Heligoland (July 1, 
1830) gives it as an argument against emi- 
grating to the United States, as Lieber and 
Follen had done : " Die eigentliche Sklaverei, 
die in den meisten nordamerikanischen Pro- 
vinzen abgeschafft, emport mich nicht so sehr 
wie die Brutalitat womit die freien Schwarzen 
und die Mulatten behandelt werden." The 
negro was still regarded, both in the Northern 
and in the Southern states, as being something 
imperfectly human. It was only the Abolition- 
ists who saw him as he was. They never doubted 
that he would have human temptations — to 
idleness, folly, wastefulness, even sensuality. 
They knew that he would need, like any abused 
and neglected race, education, moral instruc- 
tion, and, above all, high example. They knew, 
in short, all that we know about him now. 
They could have predicted the outcome of such 



120 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

half-freedom as has been given him, — a free- 
dom tempered by chain-gangs, lynching, and 
the lash. 

It may be assumed, therefore, that there is 
no charge more unfounded than that frequently 
made to the effect that the negro was best un- 
derstood by his former masters. It would be 
more reasonable to say that the negro as a 
human being was really least comprehended by 
those to whom he represented merely a check 
for a thousand dollars, or less, from a slave 
auctioneer. This principle may be justly borne 
in mind in forming an opinion upon the very 
severest charges still brought against him. 
Thus a Southern negro has only to be sus- 
pected of any attempt at assault on a white 
woman, and the chances are that he will be 
put to death without trial, and perhaps with 
fiendish torture. Yet during my two years' 
service with colored troops, only one charge of 
such assault was brought against any soldier, 
and that was withdrawn in the end and ad- 
mitted to be false by the very man who made 
the assertion; and this in a captured town. 
But even supposing him to have a tendency to 
such an offense, does any one suppose for a 
moment that the mob which burns him on sus- 
picion of such a crime is doing it in defense of 
chastity? Not at all; it is in defense of caste. 



INTENSELY HUMAN 121 

To decide its real character, we need only ask 
what would happen if the facts proved to be the 
reverse of those at first assumed, — if the woman 
had, after all, the slightest tinge of negro blood, 
and the offending man turned out to be a white 
man. Does anybody doubt that the case would 
be dismissed by acclamation in an instant, that 
the criminal would go free, and the victim be 
forgotten ? If I err, then the books of evidence 
are all wrong, the tales of fugitives in the old 
days are all false. Was any white man ever 
lynched, either before or since emancipation, for 
insulting the modesty of a colored girl? Look 
in the autobiographies of slaves, dozens of 
which are in our public libraries ! Look in the 
ante-bellum newspapers, or search the memo- 
ries of those who, like the present writer, were 
employed on vigilance committees and under- 
ground railways before most of the present 
lynchers were born ! 

There were, again and again, women known 
to us who had fled to save their honor, — wo- 
men so white that, like Ellen Craft, they passed 
in traveling for Caucasian. One such woman 
was under my observation for a whole winter 
in Worcester, who brought away with her the 
two children of her young master, whose mis- 
tress she had been, in spite of herself, and 
who was believed by many to have been her 



122 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

half-brother. So nearly white were she and 
her children that they were escorted up from 
Boston by a Worcester merchant, himself pro- 
slavery in sympathy, under whose care they had 
been skillfully put at the Boston station by the 
agent of the underground railway. They finally 
passed into the charge of an honorable man, a 
white mechanic, who married the woman with 
the full approval of the ladies who had her in 
charge. I never knew or wished to know his 
name, thinking it better that she and her chil- 
dren should disappear, as they easily could, in 
the white ranks. Another slave child, habitually 
passing for white, was known to the public as 
" Ida May," and was exhibited to audiences as 
a curiosity by Governor Andrew and others, 
until that injudicious practice was stopped. 
She, too, was under my care for a time, went to 
school, became clerk in a public office, and I 
willingly lost sight of her also for a very sim- 
ilar reason. It must never be forgotten that 
every instance of slaves almost white, in those 
days, was not the outcome of legal marriage, 
but of the ungoverned passion of some white 
man. The evil was also self-multiplying, since 
the fairer the complexion of every half-breed 
girl, the greater her attraction and her perils. 
Those who have read that remarkable volume 
of Southern stories, written in New Orleans 



INTENSELY HUMAN 123 

by Grace King, under the inexpressive title of 
u Tales of a Time and Place," will remember 
the striking scene where a mob, which had 
utterly disregarded the danger run by a young 
girl who had passed for a mere octoroon, is 
lashed instantly into overpowering tumult when 
evidence is suddenly advanced at the last that 
she is not octoroon, but white. 

Supposing, for the sake of argument, that 
there is to be found in the colored race, espe- 
cially in the former slave states, a lower stand- 
ard of chastity than among whites, it is hard to 
imagine any reasoning more grotesque than 
that which often comes from those who claim 
to represent the white race there. One recent 
writer from New Orleans in the Boston " Her- 
ald" describes the black race as being "in 
great part immoral in its sexual relations, 
whether from centuries of savagery or from 
nature, as some of the travelers insisted." This 
needs only to be compared with the testimony 
of another Southern witness to show its folly. 
In a little book entitled " Two Addresses on 
Negro Education in the South," Mr. A. A. 
Gunby of the Louisiana bar makes this simple 
statement: "Miscegenation in the South has 
always been and will always be confined to con- 
verse between white men and colored women, 
and the number of mulattoes in the future will 



124 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

depend absolutely on the extent to which white 
men restrain their immoral dealings with ne- 
gro females." This same writer goes on to say, 
what would seem to be the obvious common 
sense of the matter, that " education is the best 
possible means to fortify negro women against 
the approaches of libertines." 

For my own part, I have been for many years 
in the position to know the truth, even on its 
worst side, upon this subject. Apart from the 
knowledge derived in college days from South- 
ern students, then very numerous at Harvard, 
with whom I happened to be very much thrown 
through a Southern relative, my classmate, I 
have evidence much beyond this. I have in 
my hands written evidence, unfit for publica- 
tion, but discovered in a captured town during 
the Civil War, — evidence to show that Rome 
in its decline was not more utterly degraded, 
as to the relation between the sexes, than was 
the intercourse often existing between white 
men and colored women on American slave 
plantations. How could it be otherwise where 
one sex had all the power and the other had 
no means of escape ? Ruf us Choate, one of the 
most conservative Northern men of the time 
as to the slavery question, is said to have ex- 
pressed the opinion, as the result of careful 
study, that he had no reason to think that the 



INTENSELY HUMAN 125 

industrial condition of the slave, all things 
considered, was worse than that of the labor- 
ing population in most European countries, 
but that for the colored woman the condition 
of slavery was "simply hell." The race of 
mixed blood in America is the outcome of 
that condition ; and that the colored race has 
emerged from such subjugation into the com- 
paratively decent moral condition which it now 
holds proves conclusively that it is human in 
its virtues as well as in its sins. This I say as 
one who has been for nearly ten years trustee 
of a school for freedmen in the heart of the 
black district. The simple fact, admitted by all 
candid men and women, that no charges of 
immorality are ever brought against the grad- 
uates of these schools, and that, wherever they 
go, they are the centre of a healthy influence, 
is sufficient proof that what the whole nation 
needs is to deal with the negro race no longer 
as outcasts, but simply as men and women. 

If thus dealt with, why should the very exist- 
ence of such a race be regarded as an insuper- 
able evil? The answer is that the tradition 
lies solely in the associations of slavery. Out- 
side of this country, such insuperable aver- 
sion plainly does not exist; not even is it to 
be found in the land nearest to us in kindred, 
England. A relative of mine, a Boston lady 



126 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

distinguished in the last generation for beauty 
and bearing, was staying in London with her 
husband, fifty years ago, when they received a 
call at breakfast time from a mulatto of fine 
appearance, named Prince Sanders, whom they 
had known well as a steward, or head waiter, 
in Boston. She felt that she ought to ask him, 
as a fellow countryman, to sit down at table 
with them, but she shrank from doing it until 
he rose to go ; and then, in a cowardly man- 
ner, as she frankly admitted, stammered out 
the invitation. To which his reply was, " Thank 
you, madam, but I am engaged to breakfast 
with the Prince of Wales this morning," which 
turned out to be true. No one can watch the 
carriages in Hyde Park, still less in Continental 
capitals, without recognizing the merely local 
quality of all distinct social antagonism between 
races. In a letter to the Boston " Herald," 
dated September 17, 1903, the writer, Bishop 
Douet of Jamaica, testifies that there is a 
large class of colored people who there fill im- 
portant positions as ministers of religion, doc- 
tors, and lawyers. He says : " This element in 
our society that I have alluded to is the result 
of miscegenation, which the writers from the 
South seem to look upon with so much hor- 
ror. We have not found that the mixing of the 
races has produced such dire results. I number 



INTENSELY HUMAN 127 

among my friends many of this mixed race who 
are as accomplished and intelligent ladies and 
gentlemen as you can find in any society in 
Boston or the other great cities of America." 

In connection with this, Bishop Douet claims 
that the masses of the colored population in 
all parts of the island are absolutely orderly, 
and that a white woman may travel from one 
end of the land to the other with perfect safety. 
All traces of the terrible period of the Maroon 
wars seem to have vanished, wars which lasted 
for nine years, during which martial law pre- 
vailed throughout the whole island, and high 
military authorities said of the Maroons that 
" their subjugation was more difficult than to 
obtain a victory over any army in Europe." 
These rebels, or their descendants, are the peo- 
ple who now live in a condition of entire peace 
and order, in spite of all the predicted perils of 
freedom. One of these perils, as we know, was 
supposed to be that of a mixture of blood be- 
tween the races, but even that is found no longer 
a source of evil, this witness thinks, when con- 
cubinage has been replaced by legal marriage. 

Among the ways in which the colored race 
shows itself intensely human are some faults 
which it certainly shares with the white race, 
besides the merely animal temptations. There 
is the love of fine clothes, for instance; the 



128 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

partiality for multiplying sects in religion, and 
secret societies in secular life; the tendency 
toward weakening forces by too much sub- 
division ; the intolerance shown toward free 
individual action. It is only the last which 
takes just now a somewhat serious form. It is 
a positive calamity that a few indiscretions 
and exaggerations on each side have developed 
into a bitter hostility to Booker Washington 
on the part of some of the most intelligent 
and even cultivated of his race. Internal feuds 
among philanthropists are, alas, no new story, 
and few bodies of reformers have escaped this 
peril. When we consider the bitter contest 
fought between Charles Sumner and his oppo- 
nents in the Prison Discipline Society; the 
conflicts in the early temperance meetings be- 
tween Total Abstainers and Teetotalers ; those 
in the Woman Suffrage Movement between 
Mrs. Woodhull and her opponents, and in the 
anti-slavery movement itself between the voting 
and non-voting Abolitionists, we must not cen- 
sure the warring negro reformer too severely. 
Nay, consider the subdivisions of the Garrison 
Abolitionists themselves, after slavery itself 
was abolished, at a period when I remember 
to have seen Edmund Quincy walk halfway 
up a stairway, and turn suddenly round to de- 
scend, merely to avoid Wendell Phillips, who 



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INTENSELY HUMAN 129 

was coming downstairs! Having worked side 
by side together through storm and through 
calm, having been denounced, threatened, and 
even mobbed side by side, the two men had yet 
separated in bitterness on the interpretation of 
a will made by a fellow laborer, Francis Jack- 
son. When we look, indeed, beyond the circle 
of moral reformers, and consider simply the 
feuds of science, we see the same thing : Dr. 
Gould, the eminent astronomer, locking his own 
observatory against his own trustees to avoid 
interference ; and Agassiz, in the height of the 
Darwinian controversy, denying that there was 
any division on the subject among scientific 
men, on the ground that any man who accepted 
the doctrine of evolution ceased thereby to be 
a man of science. If questions merely intel- 
lectual thus divide the leaders of thought, how 
can we expect points that divide men on the 
basis of conscience and moral service to be 
less potent in their influence ? In the present 
case, as in most cases, the trouble seems chiefly 
due to the difficulty found by every energetic 
and enthusiastic person, absorbed in his own 
pursuits, in fully appreciating the equally impor- 
tant pursuits of others. Booker Washington, 
in urging the development of the industrial 
pursuits he represents, has surely gone no 
farther then Frederick Douglass, the acknow- 



130 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

ledged leader of his people, who said, " Every 
colored mechanic is by virtue of circumstances 
an elevator of his race." On the other hand, 
the critics of Mr. Washington are wholly right 
in holding that it is as important for this race 
to produce its own physicians, lawyers, preach- 
ers, and above all, teachers, as to rear mechanics ; 
and he accordingly summoned the Harvard 
Class Orator of the year — Mr. Bruce — to be 
the head of the department of letters at Tus- 
kegee. It is infinitely to be regretted that every- 
body cannot look at every matter all round, but 
this, unhappily, is a form of human weakness 
in which there is no distinction of color. 

It must always be remembered that all for- 
ward movements have their experimental stage. 
In looking over, at this distance of time, the 
letters and printed editorials brought out by 
the enterprise of arming the blacks in our 
Civil War, I find that it was regarded by most 
people as a mere experiment. It now seems 
scarcely credible that I should have received, 
as I did, on first undertaking it, a letter from a 
sympathizer in Boston, recalling to my memory 
that Roman tradition of a body of rebellious 
slaves who were brought back to subjection, 
even after taking up arms, by a body of men 
armed with whips only. This correspondent 
anxiously warned me that the same method 



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INTENSELY HUMAN 131 

might be repeated. Yet it seems scarcely more 
credible that the young hero, Colonel Shaw, 
when I rode out to meet him, on his arrival 
with his Northern colored regiment, seriously 
asked me whether I felt perfectly sure that the 
negroes would stand fire in line of battle, and 
suggested that, at the worst, it would at least 
be possible to drive them forward by having 
a line of white soldiers advance in their rear, 
so that they would be between two fires. He 
admitted the mere matter of individual courage 
to have been already settled in their case, and 
only doubted whether they would do as well 
in line of battle as in skirmishing and on guard 
duty. Nor do I intend to imply that he had any 
serious doubt beyond this, but simply that the 
question had passed through his mind. He did 
not sufficiently consider that in this, as at all 
other points, they were simply men. 

We must also remember that a common 
humanity does not by any means exclude indi- 
vidual variety, but rather protects it. At first 
glance, in a black regiment, the men usually 
looked to a newly arrived officer just alike, but 
it proved after a little experience that they 
varied as much in face as any soldiers. It was 
the same as to character. Yet at the same time 
they were on the whole more gregarious and 
cohesive than the whites ; they preferred organ- 



132 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

ization, whereas nothing pleased white Ameri- 
can troops so much as to be out skirmishing, 
each on his own responsibility, without being 
bothered with officers. There was also a cer- 
tain tropical element in black troops, a sort of 
fiery utterance when roused, which seemed 
more Celtic than Anglo-Saxon. The only point 
where I was doubtful, though I never had occa- 
sion to test it, was that they might show less 
endurance under prolonged and hopeless resist- 
ance, like Napoleon's men when during the 
retreat from Russia they simply drooped and 
died. 

As to the general facts of courage and reli- 
ability, I think that no officer in my camp 
ever thought of there being any essential differ- 
ence between black and white; and surely the 
judgment of these officers, who were risking 
their lives at every moment, month after month, 
on the fidelity of their men, was worth more 
than the opinion of the world besides. As the 
negroes were intensely human at these points, 
they were equally so in claiming that they 
had more to fight for than the white soldiers. 
They loved the United States flag, and I re- 
member one zealous corporal, a man of natural 
eloquence, pointing to it during a meeting on 
the Fourth of July, and saying with more zeal 
than statistical accuracy, " Dar 's dat flag, we 



INTENSELY HUMAN 133 

hab lib under it for eighteen hundred and sixty- 
two years, and we '11 lib and die for it now." 
But they could never forget that, besides the 
flag and the Union, they had home and wife 
and child to fight for. War was a very serious 
matter to them. They took a grim satisfaction 
when orders were issued that the officers of 
colored troops should be put to death on cap- 
ture. It helped their esprit de corps immensely. 
Their officers, like themselves, were hencefor- 
ward to fight with ropes around their necks. 
Even when the new black regiments began to 
come down from the North, the Southern sol- 
diers pointed out this difference, that in case 
of ultimate defeat, the Northern troops, black 
or white, must sooner or later be exchanged 
and returned to their homes, whereas they 
themselves must fight it out or be reenslaved. 
All this was absolutely correct reasoning, and 
showed them human. 

As all individuals differ, even in the same 
family, so there must doubtless be variations 
between different races. It is only that these 
differences balance one another so that all are 
human at last. Each race, like each individual, 
may have its strong point. Compare, for in- 
stance, the negroes and the Irish-Americans. 
So universal among negroes is the possession 
of a musical ear that I frequently had reason 



134 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

to be grateful for it as a blessing, were it only 
for the fact that those who saw colored soldiers 
for the first time always noticed it and exag- 
gerated its importance. Because the negroes 
kept a better step, after forty-eight hours' train- 
ing, than did most white regiments after three 
or four months, these observers expressed the 
conviction that the blacks would fight well ; 
which seemed to me, perhaps, a hasty inference. 
As to the Irish-Americans, I could say truly 
that a single recruit of that race in my original 
white company had cost me more trouble in 
training him to keep step than all my black 
soldiers put together. On the other hand, it 
was generally agreed that it was impossible to 
conceive of an Irish coward ; the Irish being, 
perhaps, as universally brave as any race exist- 
ing. Now, I am not prepared to say that in 
the colored race cowardice would be totally 
impossible, nor could that be claimed, abso- 
lutely, for the Anglo-Saxon race. On the other 
hand, to extend the comparison, it would not 
have been conceivable to me that a black sol- 
dier should be a traitor to his own side, and it 
is unquestionable that there were sometimes 
Irish deserters. All this variety is according 
to the order of nature. The world would be 
very monotonous if all human beings had pre- 
cisely the same combination of strong and 



INTENSELY HUMAN 135 

weak points. It is enough that they should all 
be human. 

In regard to warmth of heart and open de- 
monstrativeness, the negroes and the Irish 
have much in common, and it is an attribute 
which makes them both attractive. The same 
may be held true of the religious element. No 
matter how reckless in bearing they might be, 
those negroes were almost fatalists in their 
confidence that God would watch over them ; 
and if they died, it would be because their 
time had come. " If each one of us was a pray- 
ing man," said one of my corporals in a speech, 
" it appears to me that we could fight as well 
with prayers as with bullets, for the Lord has 
said that if you have faith even as a grain of 
mustard seed cut into four parts, you can say 
to the sycamore tree * Arise,' and it will come 
up." And though Corporal Long's botany 
may have got a little confused, his faith proved 
itself by works, for he volunteered to go many 
miles on a solitary scouting expedition into 
the enemy's country in Florida, and got back 
safe after he had been given up for lost. On 
the whole, it may be said that the colored and 
the Irish soldiers were a little nearer to one 
another than to the Anglo-Saxon type; and 
that both were nearer to the Western recruits, 
among Americans, than to the more reticent 



136 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

and self-controlled New England men. Each 
type had its characteristics, and all were in- 
tensely human. 

All these judgments, formed in war, have 
thus far sustained themselves in peace. The 
enfranchisement of the negroes, once estab- 
lished, will of course never be undone. They 
have learned the art, if not of political self- 
defense, at least of migration from place to 
place, and those states which are most unjust 
to them will in time learn to prize their pre- 
sence and regret their absence. The chances 
are that the mingling of races will diminish, 
but whether this is or is not the outcome, it is, 
of course, better for all that this result should 
be legal and voluntary, rather than illegal 
and perhaps forced. As the memories of the 
slave period fade away, the mere fetich of color- 
phobia will cease to control our society ; and 
marriage may come to be founded, not on the 
color of the skin, but upon the common cour- 
tesies of life, and upon genuine sympathies of 
heart and mind. To show how high these 
sympathies might reach even in slavery, I turn 
back to a letter received by one of my soldiers 
from his wife, — a letter which I have just 
unearthed from a chaos of army papers where 
it has lain untouched for forty years. It is 
still inclosed in a quaint envelope of a pattern 



INTENSELY HUMAN 137 

devised in Philadelphia at that day, and greatly 
in demand among the negroes. This shows a 
colored print of the tree of liberty bearing in 
the place of leaves little United States flags, 
each labeled with the name of some state, while 
the tree bears the date "1776" at its roots. 
The letter is addressed to " Solomon Steward, 
Company H., 1st S. C. Vols., Beaufort, S. C," 
this being the name of a soldier in my regi- 
ment, who showed the letter to me and allowed 
me to keep it. He was one of the Florida men, 
who were, as a rule, better taught and more 
intelligent than the South Carolina negroes. 
They were therefore coveted as recruits by all 
my captains; and they had commonly been 
obliged on enlistment to leave their families 
behind them in Florida, not nearly so well 
cared for as those under General Saxton's 
immediate charge. The pay of my regiment 
being, moreover, for a long time delayed, these 
families often suffered in spite of all our efforts. 
I give the letter verbatim, and it requires no 
further explanation : — 

Fernandina, Florida, Feb, the 8 [1864]. 

My Dear Husband, — This Hour I Sit Me 

Down To write you In a Little world of sweet 

sounds The Choir In The Chapel near Here 

are Chanting at The organ and Thair Morn- 



1 38 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

ing Hymn across The street are sounding and 
The Dear Little birds are joining Thair voices 
In Tones sweet and pure as angels whispers, 
but My Dear all The songs of The birds sounds 
sweet In My Ear but a sweeter song Than 
That I now Hear and That Is The song of a 
administing angel Has Come and borne My 
Dear Little babe To Join In Tones with Them 
sweet and pure as angels whispers. My babe 
only Live one day It was a Little Girl. Her 
name Is alice Gurtrude steward I am now sick 
In bed and have Got nothing To Live on The 
Rashion That They Give for six days I Can 
Make It Last but 2 days They dont send Me 
any wood They send The others wood and I 
Cant Get any I dont Get any Light at all You 
Must see To That as soon as possible for I 
am In in want of some Thing To Eat 

I have nothing more to say to you but Give 
my Regards to all the friends all the family 
send thair love to you 

no more at pressant 

Emma steward 

Does it need any further commentary to 
prove that the writer of a letter like this was 
intensely human? 






VII 

LETTERS OF MARK 

" Letters ... are of several kinds. First, there are those which are not 
letters at all, as letters patent, letters dimissory, letters enclosing bills . . . 
letters of marque, and letters generally, which are in no wise letters of mark." 
— Lowell's The Biglow Papers, First Series, No. VII. 

ODD people write odd letters," was the un- 
answerable assertion of that else forgotten 
essayist, Bishop Thorold, — forgotten, even 
though his " Presence of Christ " went through 
twenty editions in his lifetime. Be this as it 
may, it is true of all of us that the letter repre- 
sents the man, odd or even. It is, indeed, more 
absolutely the man, in one sense, than he him- 
self is, for the man himself is inevitably chang- 
ing, beyond his own control, from moment to 
moment, from birth to death; but the letter, 
once written, is an instantaneous photograph 
and stays forever unchanged. Litera scripta 
maneL If sincere, it is irrevocable, if insincere, it 
is equally so ; and however artfully executed, 
it may be read between the lines, some time or 
other, and its hidden meaning unveiled. Let 
us by all means, therefore, devote a few pages 
to the odd letters. 



140 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

The following letter is one of a class which 
every American journalist or magazinist, whose 
name becomes tolerably familiar to the public, 
may reasonably expect to receive every month 
or two. This arrived many years ago; and the 
daughter of this writer may well be addressing, 
by this time, some younger author in an equally 
confiding spirit. No other nationality, perhaps, 
would produce such a letter, and yet its fear- 
less familiarity may have come from a simple 
soul whose frankness was its own defense. 

Ohio, io, 27, '84. 

Dear Sir, — I am one of your girl admirers, 
I am ! I know you 're sedate and grandfatherly 
and such an announcement wont startle you 
a bit ! . . . We have one of your books in the 
circulating library in town, we always have 
read your articles — when I wore a bib I 'd 
read them in " Our Young Folks." . . . 

Oh, I did forget the object of my call — I 
want to be reading a good history of Ireland and 
Scotland this winter. Please suggest what is 
best. I want nothing dry nor pokey ; whatever 
you approve will suit me 'cause you 're so folksy! 
I would enjoy Irish legends and superstitions. 

When my ship comes in I 'm going to Eu- 
rope, ah, thereby hangs a tale ! my folks smile 
whenever the subject comes up. Once upon a 



LETTERS OF MARK 141 

time I nearly got a legacy ! Why did n't I get 
it ? A childless old widower in his dotage made 
a will giving to four girls his gilders. I was one 
of 'em, just as he was about to " shuffle off" — 
a little widow, bright and black eyed, inveigled 
the widdy man into a marriage and she got my 
" noble six hundred ! " 

And since he died this pesky widow, this 
scheming Vivian is on the track again a-try- 
i-ng to get into the good graces of one of my 
admirers ! 

The legacy business was a surprise to us 
girls and it did no harm, we all have homes 
and plenty, so I '11 just go on being smiling 
and help rheumatic-y old men in wheel chairs 
across rough places in pavements and will get 
to Europe on my own cash. . . . 

Please find enclosed a stamp for reply — and 
don't be shocked at my wild Western ways — 

Your Girl friend. 

Another letter, proceeding from a different 
temperament and from a much remoter source, 
indicates the graver and still more daring spirit 
which was ready, even in what was then almost 
wilderness, to write Gibbon's " Roman Empire" 
or any other task demanding such a library as 
scarcely Washington or New York or Boston 
could then afford. 



142 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

Dakota, Nov. 13, 1886. 

Dear Sir, — In one of the Chicago papers 
(I have mislaid the article) I saw you quoted as 
saying that the field of literary work was almost, 
or quite, destitute of women who could write a 
really scholarly article on any given, or assigned 
subject. I may be unequal to the task, and 
I have not a Library of any size to consult 
on such subjects, but I would like to try, I am 
capable of study and have an easy pen. A little 
direction may be worth a good deal to me. 
Very Resp'ly. 

But from an Eastern metropolis itself came 
this more practical appeal with a view to busi- 
ness only. 

New York City, Feb. 25, 1885. 

Dear Sir, — I am desirous of securing a 
humerous lecture for a lady to deliver through 
N. Y. State & possibly some in the West. I 
saw the notice of your lecture " New England 
Vagabond" in the Boston Papers & write to 
ask you if the same can be secured. If so upon 
what terms. I conclude from the title that it is 
humerous; is it not? Yours truly. 

Then comes an appeal from the outer edge 
of literature, with the advantage of a foreign 
atmosphere and a picturesque name. Having 



LETTERS OF MARK 143 

afterwards met the author, I can testify to his 
fine personal appearance, and to a power of 
gesture such as to suggest the necessity of 
those strictly pocketed hands demanded by his 
11 pantomimeless friends." Alas ! what budding 
orator but finds himself liable to repression by 
such friendship ? 

Jan. 15th, 1900. 

My dear Sir, — I beg of you as a stranger, 
that I may be the recipient of your encourage- 
ment in my efforts to pronounce the words of 
Shakespeare. 

I am beginning the study of some of the 
works of the Master and that from a dramatic 
standpoint, and " I see in them more than mor- 
tal knowledge." 

I write you sir as a patron of learning and 
as a helper of young men that I may be given 
the opportunity to, if possible, give a reading 
of one hour's duration at your home for the 
sum oi $10. 

Although being of a Syrian origin and have 
the Arabic for my mother tongue, yet " I have 
a mind that pressages me such thrift that I 
should questionless be fortunate," and I " Do 
now feel the future in the instant." 

Permit me to state that I have the idea to 
excute after two years study six of the mas- 
terpieces of the Master word for word and to 



144 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

produce the same with the aid of illustrations 
upon the screen and if possible to use moving 
characters to be taken from casts set for the 
purpose. This would in itself be an atraction 
in making Shakespeare more popular even with 
the use of my voice to speak the parts of all 
characters as they appear on the canvas. 

At present I have two plays almost assimi- 
lated and registred in my memory and from 
these I would use portions if privileged by you 
some evening in the future (near?). 

I think I am possessed with the requisits, 
that of voice and the dramatic instinct, coupled 
with a pair of strong lungs to propell the neces- 
sary atmosphere to the character living in my 
mind, whether it be that of Hamlet, Shylock, 
Portia or that of a clown. 

I am told that my physical make up is very 
responsive to my imagination by way of move- 
ment and action, and it is so much so that I 
have to pocket my hands in order to conform 
myself to the pantomimeless friends here. 

I crave again your pardon for obtruding 
myself on your kindness, and with best wishes 
and Salaam 

I am most respectfully yours. 

It is more plaintive still, perhaps, when a 
man of genuine and simple purpose, having 



LETTERS OF MARK 145 

previously written to ask counsel as to books 
for his grandchildren, comes back four years 
later for a plan and " Spesefacations " to aid in 
building him a tanyard for those same grand- 
children, in which the " difrent helps " may be 
put in the " most conviniant placeses." Where, 
but in America, one asks, are the different pur- 
suits of literature and life brought so frankly 
and honestly together with compensation guar- 
anteed in advance ? 

Pa. November 19, 1886. 

I am sending thus at a ventur I was so sus- 
cesful in geting Books through you so sutabel 
for my grandchildren in 1882. 

I am bilding a tanyerd in houp that it may 
bi run by my grandsons. 40 by 100. intended 
to have atachments. 

I want a plan and Spesefacations in Book 
pamflat or leflet form that wil gide the man 
that is Bulding the house in puting down the 
vats, and placing the difrent helps at ther 
levels, and most conviniant placeses. 

whatever information you can help mi to I 
will pay for in advance, if you wish. 

your Servt. 

When to these elements of utter frankness 
in thought and freshness of words is added 
the fearless mixture of two distinct languages 



146 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

in spelling, we come upon a new ground of in- 
terest, as seen in the following letter, addressed 
by a young German sculptress to a lady of 
my household. It is to be explained that she 
who wrote it had been making some prelimi- 
nary attempts at modeling in plaster the head 
of one of the family. 

Dear Madam, — You will kindly excuse dat I 
take the liberty to writh to you, but my clay was 
ready as far as I could do it last Fryday and 
it is so hard to keep it moist without spoiling it 
dat I dont know what to do. I fully understand 

dat Mr is verry bussy whit his work and so 

I dit not like to bodder him with my littel afairs. 

So you would do me a great favor if you 
would find out when I could see him, if only 
15 minutes. I faund it such a hard job to make 
the lykniss ennywhere near to south [suit] me, 
becous in my minds eye I had his picture 
. . . and the photograph dont souths [suit] 
me because it dont give him credit. 

When I cam home from your house, I 
washet the littel catpiece whit soap and whater 
and it becum quit white and niece, so would 
yours, if you would just try. 

I put one of my cards in for the adress in 
case you should be so kind to writh and oblige 
Your respectfully. 



LETTERS OF MARK 147 

For the literary man especially, the phrase 
"to writh" is clearly more vigorous and ex- 
pressive than " to write," and often represents 
the same process ; especially when the writer 
is painted at the very climax of toil, and is de- 
scribed as " verry bussy whit his work." What 
the " littel catpiece " was, is now lost to mem- 
ory, but it is something to know that when 
" washet whit soap and whater " it " becum 
quit white and niece." Note throughout, also, 
the absence of all mere illiteracy in the spell- 
ing of this letter, a document which simply 
lies in some zone, halfway between some other 
language and our own, resulting in a consist- 
ent and uniform dialect, only half spoiled into 
English. 

As a sample of a really vigorous, but some- 
what untrained American mind, with its mul- 
titude of momentous things to be said and 
nothing longer than a possible sentence to say 
them in, — this letter from an unseen corre- 
spondent in a remote Western region will suf- 
fice. We may picture her as the kind and 
well-to-do adviser to her neighbors, who seek 
her in market wagons to inquire of her how 
to regain supposed bequests in far-off lands ; 
even she being unable to find for them any 
refuge but in what she describes as "Car- 
nage." 



148 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

My dear friend, — This is all one letter, a 
part of the last, when I got to writing about 
that immaginary old gentleman, that would be 
to old to care anything about waiting if he 
was older than I am, I forgot what I wished to 
say and that is about English lawyers, do you 
know of one who could attend to some busi- 
ness for my neighbors, this place is out of the 
way we have no railroads and are not con- 
nected with the city only by market wagons, 
we do not know any thing here, I am the only 
one who has been abroad and they come to 
me for advice about their property who know 
nothing about lawyers. I have one a young 
man who manages my estate, and I told him 

to write for my neighbors to Mr B who 

is consul to Liverpool as I know his wife, and 
ask for a Lawyer for my neighbors who wish 
to get some money from the Bank of England, 
the Bank having written that it was left there 

by their grandfather for them. Mr. B 

wrote the name of a firm, and my lawyer wrote 
to them to see how much money there was in 
the bank for them as he did not think it could 
be as many millions as they thought, now the 
lawyer answered and said he had looked the 

chancery and there was no estate for the 

there, of course there was not, he was never 
told to look the chancery, what would you 



LETTERS OF MARK 149 

think of a lawyer like that, you who are noted 
for knowledge ought to know, and then the 
Bank of England wrote to know the title of 
the old man who lived so long ago in this 
neighborhood, and then my young lawyer did 
not know what to do, and I thought of asking 
you for an English lawyer of sense. Some 
money in this neighborhood might get us a 
library for the High School. I have given the 
land and the house is built, these farmers 
ought to have a library, how could we get in 
touch with Carnage, or some other of that 
generous kind of people ? 

No really illiterate letters will ever be so 
dear to my heart, or even afford such sugges- 
tive studies as to the way in which written 
language first unfolds itself, as those received 
when I commanded a military camp of nearly 
a thousand freed slaves, nine tenths of whom 
were making their early efforts toward read- 
ing and writing. The simplicity and directness 
of their processes, the seeming hopelessness 
of the first results, the new suggestions con- 
veyed as to phonetic methods of spelling, the 
absolute daring with which nouns and verbs 
were combined, made all mere public school 
instruction appear commonplace beside these. 
The writer of the following epistle, Baltimore 



150 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

Chaplin, was one of those picturesque vaga- 
bonds who are to be found in all regiments, 
white or black, and who are apt to make 
themselves more interesting to their senior 
officers than those leading lives of more 
monotonous virtue. He had been, it would 
seem, arrested for some offense, and probably 
with undue violence. The letter was addressed 
to the commander of the Department, and 
I believe it soon turned out that the writer 
had been, for once, unjustly suspected, and 
must be set at liberty. As I recur to the 
epistle after nearly forty years have passed, 
there is a certain fascination in tracing the 
successive efforts to make the untutored pen 
express the untrained ear, thus giving forth 
sounds new in their combination and some- 
times more expressive than tones achieved 
under the full rigors of grammar and diction- 
ary. The wildness of all peril appears thus 
concentrated into the word " Somharme " and 
the refuge for all safety into the word " Gor- 
home;" while the union of these two words 
in one sentence seems to reach the acme 
of all desolation. I have ventured, to eluci- 
date the letter by translating phrases within 
brackets, wherever the unaided comprehension 
would seem hopeless, which is, indeed, quite 
often. 



LETTERS OF MARK 151 

March 22 [1864]. 

Dear Genral gilmor I tak my [pen to] 
Root [write] you this to you And Do if you 
Plas [please] to Grant this Parden For me For 
God Sak Did not Now [know] that it Twas 
enen Harm for my Go home But I find that 
Twas Somharme For me to Gorhome But Do 
Genral Do If you Plas to Parden And for- 
giev me 

For All that Pat [is put] agant me for God 
Sak Do if you Plas to Relefe Me for God Sak 
for I Went home And the Sen [they sent] 
After me And I Saw the Copprol When he 
Com And he told me that I is His Priner [Pris- 
oner] And But ten Sake [seconds] from after I 
Semet [submit] to him as Privner he Shot Me 
Do if Pies [please] to Grant this for me 

This is retted [written] By the hand of Bal- 
timore Chaplin 

Do by the mercy of god Grat [grant] this 
for Me Do Genral for God Sak To Parden 
And forgiev me. 

The path back to the accustomed orthogra- 
phy and grammar may perhaps best be traced 
by this letter, written by a man in the same 
regiment, of much higher quality, whose intel- 
lectual progress showed itself at this stage, as 
often happens, by an undue range of sonorous 



152 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

words. I am sorry that the document does not 
contain his more accustomed signature, which 
was absolutely original and of the most digni- 
fied and even stately quality. Having been the 
very first colored soldier enlisted in the Civil 
War, he had created a title as genuine and im- 
posing as that of any mediaeval baron ; and 
usually signed himself " William Brunson, ist 
Sergeant, Co. A., ist S. C. Vols.," to this adding, 
by his own invention, " A : i, African Founda- 
tions." This is one of his letters : — 

At Camp saxton Feb. 20th 63 
My dear Colonel I hav inform in here 
About so doing : According to the different in 
rule in wish how: I stand now: for I dont 
know if it is Right for me to hav one of the 
Armies Regulation Books: so sir that is the 
reason I had come to you to know : and if you 
think that it is right for me to have one I Like 
to have one : if it cost me one Month wages : 
for I Am withness [witness] that it will in 
Prove [improve] and give me A withness : in 
so doing : it from sergt Wm Brunson Co A. 

If to his function of literary man, poor but 
patient, an author adds that of being constantly 
confounded with a relative who is always origi- 
nating large enterprises and backing them up 



~ " " " ~ ~ 

• 


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ft :^J* 










OmJVL 




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LETTERS OF MARK 153 

munificently, he is liable to receive such letters 
as the following, which came several years since 
through the post-office from Poonah, India. 
This letter was addressed in a handwriting 
which had, so to say, an Arabic flavor, and the 

address ran thus: " Hinginston, the great 

lord of Boston, Boston through Italy." Stray- 
ing into the Cambridge post-office, it was 
handed to me, and no stretch of humility could 
be expected to preclude me from the privilege 
of opening it. The letter itself was very long, 
and after describing business calamities, the 
death of a wife, etc., it thus goes on : — 

" To my great misfortune this genarous uncle 
died Since a month and my aunt soon urges 
me to take away my family. This is a great 
difficulty I ever experienced. Money requires 
to settle my house again, which I have none. 
I asked the protection of many great men of 
my own cast as well as Europions, but to my 
evil star they all have closed their ears against 
me. I had heard much about the kind and 
generous feelings of your Americans & I have 
read one fresh example of your own generosity 
& I beg from you a protection of £50 fifty to 
enable me to bring my family here & commence 
busyness honestly. Will it please God to raise 
me up again and make me prosperous, I will 
return your amount honestly, otherwise only 



154 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

gratify myself by ever remembering your kind 
generocity and pray God to grant you a long 
life and prosperity. Wishing you all the worldly 
blessings 

remain 
Honored Sir, 
Your most 
Servant." 
To my perhaps too hardened ears, the gem 
of this whole letter is unquestionably to be 
found in the word " otherwise," which occurs 
near the close. Never before, I think, was it 
my lot to read a letter asking for a loan of 
money and intimating one instant's doubt as 
to the repayment. If there is a point at which 
hope springs eternal in the breast of the most 
lagging debtor, it is this. Had I vast sums 
in my pocket, yearning to be lent, I think 
that the recipient whom I should prefer to all 
others would be the man who had the stern 
integrity to hint at one atom of uncertainty as 
to my seeing my money again. 



VIII 
BOOKS UNREAD 

" Mitten tc\av$ ' otire yhp rh, virofivrifidria <rov fi4h\eis avayipdxriceiv 
oijre ras ap%ai<av "Pw/xaicov Kal 'EAA^j/wj/ irpdl-eis, Kal ras e/c rwv crvy- 
ypafifidrcov £ic\oy&s, as els rb yrjpas <ravr<p airsrldeao." — Marcus An- 
toninus, iii, 14. 

"No longer delude thyself; for thou wilt never read thine own memo- 
randa, nor the recorded deeds of old Romans and Greeks, and those passages 
in books which thou hast been reserving for thine old age." 

IN the gradual growth of every student's 
library, he may or may not continue to 
admit literary friends and advisers ; but he will 
be sure, sooner or later, to send for a man with 
a tool-chest Sooner or later, every nook and 
corner will be filled with books, every window 
will be more or less darkened, and added 
shelves must be devised. He may find it hard 
to achieve just the arrangement he wants, but 
he will find it hardest of all to meet squarely 
that inevitable inquiry of the puzzled carpen- 
ter, as he looks about him, "Have you really 
read all these books ? " The expected answer 
is, " To be sure, how can you doubt it ? " Yet 
if you asked him in turn, " Have you actually 
used every tool in your tool-chest ? " you would 



156 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

very likely be told, " Not one half as yet, at 
least this season ; I have the others by me, to 
use as I need them." Now if this reply can 
be fairly made in a simple, well-defined, dis- 
tinctly limited occupation like that of a joiner, 
how much more inevitable it is in a pursuit 
which covers the whole range of thought and 
all the facts in the universe. The library is the 
author's tool-chest. He must at least learn, as 
he grows older, to take what he wants and to 
leave the rest. 

This never was more tersely expressed than 
by Margaret Fuller when she says, " A man who 
means to think and write a great deal must, 
after six and twenty, learn to read with his 
fingers." A few men of leisure may satisfy 
themselves by reading over and over a single 
volume and ignoring all others, like that Eng- 
lish scholar who read Homer's Iliad and Odys- 
sey every year in the original, devoting a week 
to each book, and reserving the minor poems 
for his summer vacation. Nay, there are books 
in the English language so vast that the ordi- 
nary reader recoils before their text and their 
footnotes. Such, for instance, is Gibbon's " De- 
cline and Fall of the Roman Empire," contain- 
ing substantially the history of the whole 
world for thirteen centuries. When that au- 
thor dismissed the last page of his task, on 



BOOKS UNREAD 157 

June 27, 1787, in the historic garden at Geneva, 
having arranged that it was to appear before 
the public at once in four different languages, 
is it not possible that he may have felt some 
natural misgiving as to whether any one person 
would ever read the whole of it? We know 
him to have predicted that Fielding's " Tom 
Jones " would outlast the palace of the Escurial 
and the imperial eagle of Austria, but he re- 
corded no similar claim for his own work. The 
statesman, Fox, to be sure, pronounced the 
book to be " immortal," simply because, as he 
said, no man in the world could do without it; 
and Sheridan added, with undue levity, that 
if not luminous, it was at least voluminous. 
But modern readers, as a rule, consult it, they 
do not read it. It is, at best, a tool-chest. 

Yet there lies before me w T hat is, perhaps, 
the most remarkable manuscript catalogue of 
books read that can be found in the English- 
speaking world, this being the work of a man 
of eighty-three, who began life by reading a 
verse of the Bible aloud to his mother when 
three years old, had gone through the whole 
of it by the time he was nine, and then went 
on to grapple with all the rest of literature, 
upon which he is still at work. His vast cata- 
logue of books read begins with 1837, and 
continues up to the present day, thus covering 



158 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

much more than half a century, a course of 
reading not yet finished, and in which Gibbon 
is but an incident. One finds, for instance, 
at intervals, such items as these : " Gibbon's 
1 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' read 
twice between 1856 and 1894;" "Gibbon's 
1 Decline and Fall,' third reading, 1895 ; " " Gib- 
bon's ' Decline and Fall,' vols. 1 and 2, fourth 
reading;" followed soon after by "Gibbon, 
vols. 3-6, fourth reading ; " " Gibbon, vols. 7-8, 
fourth reading." What are a thousand readings 
of " Tom Jones " compared with a series of feats 
like this ? And there is a certain satisfaction 
to those who find themselves staggered by the 
contemplation of such labor, when they read 
elsewhere on the list the recorded confession 
that this man of wonderful toil occasionally 
stooped so far as cheerfully to include " That 
Frenchman " and " Mr. Barnes of New York." 
The list of faooks unread might properly 
begin with those painted shelves of mere book 
covers, which present themselves in some 
large libraries, to veil the passageway. These 
are not books unread, since they are not books 
at all. Much the same is true of those which 
perhaps may still be seen, as formerly, in old 
Dutch houses round Albany: the effigies of 
books merely desired, but not yet possessed ; 
and only proposed as purchases for some day 



BOOKS UNREAD 159 

when the owner's ship should come in. These 
were made only of blocks of wood, neatly 
painted and bound in leather with the proper 
labels, but surely destined never to be read, 
since they had in them nothing readable. Al- 
most as remote from the real books are those 
dummies made up by booksellers to be exhib- 
ited by their traveling agents. Thus I have 
at hand a volume of my own translation of 
Epictetus, consisting of a single "signature" 
of eighteen pages, repeated over and over, so 
that one never gets any farther : each signature 
bearing on the last page, by one of Fate's sim- 
ple and unconscious strokes, the printed ques- 
tion, "Where is progress, then?" (page 18). 
Where, indeed ! Next to these, of course, the 
books which go most thoroughly unread are 
those which certainly are books, but of which 
we explore the backs only, as in fine old Eu- 
ropean libraries ; books as sacredly preserved 
as was once that library at Blenheim, — now 
long since dispersed, — in which, when I idly 
asked the custodian whether she did not find it 
a great deal of trouble to keep them dusted, she 
answered with surprise, " No, sir, the doors have 
not been unlocked for ten years." It is so in 
some departments of even American libraries. 
Matthew Arnold once replied to a critic who 
accused him of a lack of learning that the charge 



160 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

was true, but that he often wished he had still 
less of that possession, so hard did he find it to 
carry lightly what he knew. The only know- 
ledge that involves no burden is found, it may be 
justly claimed, in the books that are left unread. 
I mean those which remain undisturbed, long 
and perhaps forever, on a student's bookshelves; 
books for which he possibly economized, and to 
obtain which he went without his dinner; books 
on whose backs his eyes have rested a thou- 
sand times, tenderly and almost lovingly, until 
he has perhaps forgotten the very language in 
which they are written. He has never read 
them, yet during these years there has never 
been a day when he would have sold them; 
they are a part of his youth. In dreams he 
turns to them ; in dreams he reads Hebrew 
again ; he knows what a Differential Equation 
is ; " how happy could he be with either." He 
awakens, and whole shelves of his library are, 
as it were, like fair maidens who smiled on him 
in their youth but once, and then passed away. 
Under different circumstances, who knows but 
one of them might have been his ? As it is, 
they have grown old apart from him ; yet for 
him they retain their charms. He meets them 
as the ever delightful but now half-forgotten 
poet Praed meets his " Belle of the Ball-Room " 
in later years : — 



BOOKS UNREAD 161 

11 For in my heart's most secret cell 

There had been many other lodgers ; 
And she was not the ball-room's belle, 
But only Mrs. Something Rogers." 

So in my case, my neighbors at the Harvard 
Observatory have solved the differential equa- 
tions; my other neighbors, the priests, have 
read — let us hope — the Hebrew psalms ; but 
I live to ponder on the books unread. 

This volume of Hirsch's Algebra, for in- 
stance, takes me back to a happy period when 
I felt the charm given to mathematics by the 
elder Peirce, and might easily have been won 
to devote my life to them, had casual tutorships 
been tossed about so freely as now. No books 
retain their attraction when reopened, I think, 
as much as the mathematical ; the quaint for- 
mulae seeming like fascinating recluses with 
cowled heads. A mere foreign language, even 
if half forgotten, is something that can be 
revived again. It is simply another country 
of the world, and you can revisit it at will ; but 
mathematics is another world. To reenter it 
would be to leave common life behind, and yet 
it seems so attractive that even to sit down and 
calculate a table of logarithms would appear 
tempting. The fact of dwelling near an obser- 
vatory, as I do, might seem to nourish this illu- 
sion, yet I have never encountered any pursuit, 



162 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

not even astronomy, which does not leave its 
votaries still, by their own confession, held 
within the limitations of mortal men. 

Many books go unread in our libraries be- 
cause prized for their associations only. There 
is, for instance, yonder set of Fourier in five 
volumes. I have read them little, but they are 
full of manuscript notes in the fine Italian hand 
of the dear friend to whom I loaned them in 
our days at the University. His life and career 
have ever been a note of sadness in those early 
memories, but when I open the books he comes 
before me in all his youthful charm. There is 
Fourier's portrait, still noble and impressive as 
when I pasted it in the first volume ; nothing 
in his books ever equaled it, yet its expression 
is as hard to read as were his books. How 
much of that period they all represent! and 
each time I open them, the face of Fourier 
seems to fade away, and there is the shadowy 
impression of that of my friend, just receding 
at the open door. 

The same illusion extends also to all one's 
shelves of Greek and Latin authors ; they 
reproduce their associations. We chant with 
Pindar, sing with Catullus, without taking a 
book from its place. Yonder series of volumes 
of ^schylus, with his commentators, holds the 
eye with charm and reverence ; I rarely open 



BOOKS UNREAD 163 

any one of them except that which contains the 
" Agamemnon ; " and that most often to ver- 
ify some re-reading of FitzGerald's wonderful 
translation ; the only version from the Greek, 
so far as I know, in which the original text is 
bettered, and one in which the translator has 
moreover put whole passages of his own, that 
fitly match the original. Yet he wrote in a let- 
ter which lies before me, " I am yet not aston- 
ished (at my all but seventy years of age) with 
the credit given me for so far succeeding in 
reproducing other men's thoughts, which is all 
I have tried to do. [Italics my own.] I know 
yet many others would have done as well, and 
any Poet better." And again, on those other 
shelves are sixteen volumes relating to Aris- 
tophanes, of which only three contain the ori- 
ginals, and all the rest hold only commentaries 
or translations, exhibiting the works of the one 
light or joyous brain which ancient Greece 
produced ; a poet who was able to balance all 
the tragedians by the grace and charm of his 
often translated but never reproduced comedy 
of "The Birds." 

Books which we have first read in odd 
places always retain their charm, whether read 
or neglected. Thus Hazlitt always remem- 
bered that it was on the 10th of April, 1798, 
that he " sat down to a volume of the ' New 



164 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

filoise ' at the Inn at Llangollen over a bottle 
of sherry and a cold chicken." In the same 
way I remember how Professor Longfellow in 
college recommended to us, for forming a good 
French style, to read Balzac's " Peau de Cha- 
grin ; " and yet it was a dozen years later before 
I found it in a country inn, on a lecture trip, 
and sat up half the night to read it. It may 
be, on the other hand, that such haphazard 
meetings with books sometimes present them 
under conditions hopelessly unfavorable, as 
when I encountered Whitman's " Leaves of 
Grass " for the first time on my first voyage 
in an Azorian barque ; and it inspires to this 
day a slight sense of nausea, which it might, 
after all, have inspired equally on land. 

Some of my own books, probably the most 
battered and timeworn, have recalled for nearly 
half a century the associations of camp life 
during the Civil War. They represent the few 
chosen or more likely accidental volumes that 
stood against the wall in the primitive little 
shelves at some picket station. A part of them 
survived to be brought home again : the small 
Horace ; the thin volume containing that un- 
surpassed book of terse nobleness, Sir Thomas 
Browne's "Christian Morals;" the new trans- 
lation of Jean Paul's "Titan" just then pub- 
lished, sent from home by a zealous friend, and 



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BOOKS UNREAD 165 

handed from tent to tent for reading in the 
long summer afternoons; books interrupted 
by the bugle and then begun again. They 
were perhaps read and re-read, or perhaps 
never even opened ; they may never have been 
opened since ; but they now seem like silent 
members of the Loyal Legion or the Grand 
Army of the Republic. I may or may not care 
much for the individual men as they are, but 
they represent what was and what might have 
been ; and it is the same with the books. The 
same mixture of feelings applies to certain 
French or German books bought in the lands 
where they were printed, or even imported 
thence, or from old bookstores in London. 
No matter ; their land is the world of litera- 
ture; their mere presence imparts a feeling 
like that which Charles Lamb applies to him- 
self in the cloisters at Oxford, which he had 
visited only during the weeks of vacation : " In 
graver moods, I proceed Master of Arts." 

The books most loved of all in a student's 
library are perhaps those which first awakened 
his literary enthusiasm, and which are so long 
since superseded by other and possibly better 
books that he leaves them unread and yet 
cannot part with them; books which even 
now open of themselves at certain favorite 
passages, having a charm that can never be 



166 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

communicated to a more recent reader. Re- 
membering, as I do, the first books which 
created in America the long period of zeal 
for German literature which has now seem- 
ingly spent itself, I can turn to them with ever 
fresh delight, although I may rarely open 
them. Such, for instance, are Heine's "Letters 
on German Literature," translated by G. W. 
Haven in this country in 1836, and Mrs. 
Austin's "Characteristics of Goethe," largely 
founded on Falk's recollections, and published 
in 1 84 1. A passage in this last book which 
always charmed me was that which described 
how the heroes of German literature — Goethe, 
Herder, Wieland, and Gleim — went out with 
the Court into the forests where Goethe's 
gypsy songs were written; and another pas- 
sage where it says, " At the hermitage, where 
a visit from a wandering stag is not uncom- 
mon, and where the forester watches the game 
by the light of the autumnal moon, a majes- 
tic tree is yet standing, on which, inscribed 
as in a living album, the names of Herder, 
Gleim, Lavater, Wieland, and Goethe, are still 
distinctly legible." How many vows I made 
in youth to visit that little hermitage built of 
trunks of trees and covered with moss, on 
whose walls Goethe had written the slumber 
song of summer : — 



BOOKS UNREAD 167 

" Ueber alien Gipfeln 
1st Ruh, 
In alien Wipfeln 
Spiirest du 
Kaum einen Hauch ; 
Die Vogelein schweigen im Walde. 
Warte nur, balde 
Ruhest du auch." 

Thus much for Goethe's " Characteristics." I 
fear that my boyish copy of Heine opens of 
itself at the immortal compliment given by 
the violin player Solomons to George III of 
England, then his pupil : " Violin players are 
divided into three classes : to the first belong 
those who cannot play at all; to the second 
belong those who play very miserably ; and to 
the third, those who play finely ; Your Majesty 
has already elevated yourself to the rank of the 
second class." Tried by such a classification, 
Heine certainly ranks in the third class, not 
the second ; yet strange it is that, of the two 
German authors who bid fair to live longest 
on the road to immortality, the one, Goethe, 
should be the most absolutely German among 
them all, while Heine died in heart, as in resi- 
dence, a Frenchman. 

But there are other books, perhaps inher- 
ited or bought in a deluded hour, that have 
no page at which they open of themselves 
through mere habit. "What actual benefits 



i68 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

do we reap," asks Hazlitt, "from the writings of 
a Laud, or a Whitgift, or a Bishop Bull, or a 
Bishop Water! and, orPrideaux's 'Connections/ 
or Beausobre, or St. Augustine, or of Pufen- 
dorf, or of Vattel ? " Take from this list St. 
Augustine, and I could indorse it ; but his 
"Confessions" I think will forever remain fas- 
cinating because they are profoundly human, 
though one cannot easily read more than half 
a dozen pages at a time. He makes revelations 
which are in depth of feeling, when compared 
to the far-famed " Confessions of Rousseau," as 
"Hamlet" to " Love's Labour's Lost." I refer 
especially, in case we must read the book in Eng- 
lish, to a fine anonymous fragmentary trans- 
lation, far superior to Pusey's, and edited by 
Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody in Boston, sixty 
years ago. Upon what superb sentences does 
one open in this version : " How deep are Thy 
ways, O God, Thou only great, that sittest silent 
on high and by an unwearied law dispensing 
penal blindness to lawless desires! " How this 
thought of penal blindness haunted the au- 
thor! and who ever penetrated the desultory 
tragedies of too ardent youth like Augustine ? 
" Thy wrath had gathered over me, and I knew 
it not. I was grown deaf by the clanking of 
the chain of my mortality, the punishment of 
the pride of my soul, and I strayed further 



BOOKS UNREAD 169 

from Thee, and Thou lettest me alone, and I 
was tossed about, and wasted, and dissipated, 
and I boiled over in my fornications, and Thou 
heldest Thy peace, O Thou my tardy joy! 
Thou then heldest Thy peace, and I wandered 
further and further from Thee, into more and 
more fruitless seed-plots of sorrow, and a proud 
dejectedness, and a restless weariness." What 
trenchant phrases are these ! — and what self- 
analysis in such revelations as this : " What 
is worthy of blame but Vice? But I made 
myself worse than I was, that I might not be 
dispraised; and when in anything I had not 
sinned like the abandoned ones, I would say 
that I had done what I had not done, that I 
might not seem contemptible in proportion as 
I was innocent; or of less account, the more 
chaste." 

Who can wonder that the heretical Pope, 
Clement XIV (Ganganelli), wrote, " Take care 
to procure the 'Confessions' of St. Augustine, 
a book written with his tears " ? or who can be 
surprised that a certain Bishop said to Augus- 
tine's mother, when she reproached him for 
not watching and questioning her son inces- 
santly, " Go thy ways and God bless thee, for 
it is not possible that the son of these tears 
should perish"? Most important of all, and 
a passage which I, for one, would gladly see 



170 



PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 



engrossed on parchment and hung above the 
desk of every teacher of elocution in America, 
is the following : — 

" Behold, O Lord God, yea, behold patiently, 
as Thou art wont, how carefully the sons of 
men observe the covenanted rules of letters 
and syllables that those who spake before them 
used, neglecting the eternal covenant of ever- 
lasting salvation received from Thee. Inas- 
much, that a teacher or learner of the hereditary 
laws of pronunciation will more offend men, by 
speaking without the aspirate, of a ' uman be- 
ing/ in despite of the laws of grammar, than 
if he, a 'human being,' hate a 'human being' 
in despite of Thee. ... In quest of the fame 
of eloquence, a man standing before a human 
judge, surrounded by a human throng, declaim- 
ing against his enemy with fiercest hatred, will 
take heed most watchfully, lest, by an error 
of the tongue, he murder the word ' human- 
being;' but takes no heed, lest, through the 
malice of his heart, he murder the real human 
being." 

There are many books which, although left 
unread, are to be valued for single sentences 
only, to be found here and there. Others are 
prized for the picturesque manner in which 
their quarto or folio pages are filled with capi- 
tal or italic letters, or even for the superb and 



BOOKS UNREAD 171 

daring eccentricity of their title-pages alone. I 
have volumes of Jacob Behmen where each 
detached line of the title-page has something 
quaint and picturesque in it, and a dozen dif- 
ferent fonts of type are drawn upon to conduct 
the reader through their mazes, as for instance 
in this : — 

" Aurora. 

That is, the 

Day-Spring. 

Or 

Dawning of the Day in the Orient 

Or 

Morning-Rednesse 

in the Rising of the 

Sun. 

That is 

The Root or Mother of 

Philosophic, Astrologie & Theologie 

from the true Ground. 

Or 

A Description of Nature. 

All this set down diligently from a true 

Ground in the Knowledge of the 

Spirit, and in the impulse of God, 

By 

Jacob Behme 

Teutonick Philosopher. 

Being his First Book. 

Written in Gerlitz in Germany Anno 

Christi M. DC. XII. on Tuesday after 

the Day of Pentecost or Whitsunday 

^Etatis suae 37. 



172 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

London, Printed by John Streater, for 

Giles [sic] Calvert, and are be sold at 

his Shop at the Black-spread-Eagle at 

the West-End of Pauls, 1656." 

Could I represent this title-page by photogra- 
phy as it is, you would see " Day-Spring " in 
lower-case letters ; but in the largest type of all, 
as if leading a flight, the " Morning- Rednesse " 
in broad smiling German text ; the " Dawning 
of the Day in the Orient " in a long italic line 
which suggests the very expansion of the light ; 
and the " Sun " in the very centre of the page, 
as if all else were concentrated there ; the word 
itself being made still terser, if possible, by the 
old-fashioned spelling, since it reads briefly 
"SVN." 

Or consider such a magnificent hurling to- 
gether of stately and solemn words as this ; the 
whole Judgment Day of the Universe, as it 
were, brought together into a title-page : — 

" Signatura Rerum : 

or the 

Signature of all Things : 

shewing 

The Sign, and Signification of the severall 

Forms and Shapes in the 

Creation : 

And what the 

Beginning, Ruin, and Cure of every 



BOOKS UNREAD 173 

Thing is ; it proceeds out of Eternity 

into Time, 
and again out of Time into Eternity, 
and comp- 
rizeth All Mysteries. 
Written in High Dutch, MDCXXII. 
By Jacob Behmen, 
alias 
Teutonicus Phylosophus. 
London, 
Printed by John Macock, for Gyles Cal- 
vert, at the black spread 
Eagle, at the West end of Pauls Church, 
1651." 

Here again the words " Beginning, Ruin, and 
Cure " are given in large italic letters, and I 
never open the book without a renewed sensa- 
tion of awe, very much as if I were standing 
beside that gulf which yawned at Lisbon in 
1755, and had seen those 30,000 human beings 
swallowed up before my eyes. 

We do not sufficiently appreciate, in modern 
books, the condensed and at least readable 
title-pages which stand sentinel, as it were, at 
their beginning. We forget how much more 
easily the books of two centuries ago were left 
unread, inasmuch as the title-page was apt 
to be in itself as long as a book. Take, for 
instance, this quaint work, not to be found in 
Allibone's Dictionary of Authors, but owing 
its authorship to "J. Bland, Professor of Phy- 



174 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

sic," who published in 1773, at London, "An 
Essay in Praise of Women ; or a Looking 
Glass for Ladies to see their Perfections in 
with Observations how the Godhead seemed 
concerned in their Creation ; what Respect is 
due to them on that Account ; how they have 
behaved in all Ages and especially in our 
Saviour's Time." Thus begins the title-page, 
which is as long as an ordinary chapter, and 
closes thus : " Also Observations and Reflec- 
tions in Defense against base and satirical 
Authors, proving them not only erroneous and 
diabolical but repugnant to Holy Scripture. 
The Whole being a Composition of Wit and 
Humor, Morality and Divinity fit to be perused 
by all the curious and ingenious, especially the 
Ladies." After this title-page, it is asking too 
much of any one to read the book, unless it be 
to study the manner in which the tea-table, now 
held so innocent, had, in 1733, such associa- 
tions of luxury and extravagance that Profes- 
sor J. Bland is compelled to implore husbands 
not to find fault with it. " More harmless liquor 
could never be invented than the ladies in this 
age have made choice of. What is so plea- 
sant and grateful to the taste as a dish of tea, 
sweetened with fine loaf sugar? What more 
innocent banquet could have ever been in use 
than this ? and what more becoming conversa- 



BOOKS UNREAD 175 

tion than the inoffensive, sweet and melodious 
expressions of the fair ones over an entertain- 
ment so much like themselves ? " 

Or let us turn to one of the early American 
books, " The Columbian Muse, a Selection of 
American Poetry from various Authors of Es- 
tablished Reputation. Published in New York 
in 1 794." The most patriotic American could 
not now read it with patience, yet the most 
unpatriotic cannot deny its quaint and fervent 
flavor. It is full of verses on the President's 
birthday and the genius of America; and of 
separate odes on American sages, American 
poets, and American painters. The monotonous 
couplets, the resounding adjectives, the personi- 
fications, the exclamation points, all belong 
to their period, the time when " Inoculation, 
heavenly maid" was deemed an appropriate 
opening for an ode. The very love poetry was 
patriotic and bore the title " On Love and the 
American Fair," by Colonel Humphreys, who 
also contributes a discourse on " The Future 
State," which turns out to refer to " Western 
Territory." Aside from the semi-political allu- 
sions there is no local coloring whatever, except 
that Richard Alsop, in an elegy written in Feb- 
ruary, 1 79 1, gives the very first instance, so far 
as I know, of an allusion in verse to any flower 
distinctively American : — 



176 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

"There the Wild-Rose in earliest pride shall bloom, 
There the Magnolia's gorgeous flowers unfold, 
The purple Violet shed its sweet perfume : 

And beauteous Meadia wave her plumes of gold." 

This last plant, though not here accurately 
described, must evidently have been the Do- 
decatheon Meadia, or " Shooting Star." This 
is really the highest point of Americanism 
attained in the dingy little volume ; the low- 
water mark being clearly found when we read 
in the same volume the work of a poet then 
known as " W. M. Smith, Esq.," who could 
thus appeal to American farmers to celebrate 
a birthday : — 

" Shepherds, then, the chorus join, 
Haste the festive wreath to twine : 
Come with bosoms all sincere, 
Come with breasts devoid of care ; 
Bring the pipe and merry lay, 
Tis Eliza's natal day." 

Wordsworth says in his " Personal Talk," — 

" Dreams, books are each a world ; " 

and the books unread mingle with the dreams 
and unite the charm of both. This applies, 
especially, I think, to books of travel; we 
buy them, finding their attractions strong, but 
somehow we do not read them over and over, 
unless they prove to be such books as those 



BOOKS UNREAD 177 

of Urquhart, — the " Pillars of Hercules " espe- 
cially, where the wealth of learning and origi- 
nality is so great that we seem in a different 
region of the globe on every page. One of 
the most poetic things about Whittier's tem- 
perament lay in this fact, that he felt most 
eager to visit each foreign country before he 
had read any book about it. After reading, 
the dream was half fulfilled, and he turned to 
something else, so that he died without visit- 
ing any foreign country. But the very posses- 
sion of such books, and their presence on the 
shelves, carries one to the Arctic regions or to 
the Indian Ocean. No single book of travels in 
Oceanica, it may be, will last so long as that one 
stanza in Whittier's" The Eternal Goodness," — 

" I know not where His islands lift 
Their fronded palms in air ; 
I only know, I cannot drift 
Beyond His love and care." 

How often have I known that poem to be re- 
cited by those who did not even know the 
meaning of the word "fronded"! It is the 
poet, not the explorer or the geographer, who 
makes the whole round world his own. 

" After all," as the brilliant and melancholy 
Rufus Choate said, " a book is the only im- 
mortality;" and sometimes when a book is 
attacked and even denounced, its destiny of 



178 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

fame is only confirmed. Thus the vivacious 
and cheery Pope, Pio Nono, when asked by a 
too daring author to help on his latest pub- 
lication, suggested that he could only aid it 
by putting it in the Index Expurgatorius. Yet 
if a book is to be left unread at last, the fault 
must ultimately rest on the author, even as the 
brilliant Lady Eastlake complained, when she 
wrote of modern English novelists, "Things 
are written now to be read once, and no more ; 
that is, they are read as often as they deserve. 
A book in old times took five years to write 
and was read five hundred times by five hun- 
dred people. Now it is written in three 
months, and read once by five hundred thou- 
sand people. That 's the proper proportion." 



IX 

BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 

IT was one of the proudest moments of my 
college life when I was deputed by Dr. 
Harris — the foremost naturalist then to be 
found in Harvard University, if not in the 
nation — to report upon the credentials of a 
foreign prince, and, if these proved authentic, 
to introduce him to academical society. That 
prince was and is — for his posterity still re- 
main among us — the most superb among 
such potentates who had ever visited this re- 
gion ; for he was the Papilio philenor (now 
Laertias philenor), a tropical butterfly then 
first seen in Cambridge, and the largest ever 
found so far north, in America, bringing, 
moreover, an unwonted luxuriance in form and 
color. This butterfly was personally reared by 
Dr. Harris from a caterpillar found on a trop- 
ical plant at the Cambridge Botanic Garden ; 
and its posterity may well be called "large 
and magnificent " by Mr. Samuel H. Scudder, 
the present successor of Dr. Harris as dean of 
American entomology. It is akin to the great 



1 80 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

butterflies of the East Indies or of South Amer- 
ica; its color is a deep purple, with glossy 
tints of green and steel-color, and large green- 
ish spots passing into straw-color and orange. 
Such was the eminent foreigner arriving at 
Cambridge, in temporary disguise, in July, 
1840, but destined to be the parent of a 
race now permanently acclimated there, and 
spread in a similar manner from the Atlantic 
to the Pacific. This gorgeous visitant I had 
the honor to receive; and I wrote thereon a 
report which may still perhaps survive among 
the documents of the Harvard Natural His- 
tory Society. 

In looking through an outdoor notebook of 
twenty years later, I find that I was at that 
period reintroduced to my early prince. 

"July 3 [1861]. — The eternal youthfulness 
of Nature answers to my own feeling of youth 
and preserves it. As I turn from these men 
and women around me, whom I watch gradu- 
ally submerged under the tide of gray hairs — 
it seems a bliss I have never earned, to find 
bird, insect and flower renewing itself each 
year in fresh eternal beauty, the same as in 
my earliest childhood. The little red butter- 
flies have not changed a streak of black on 
their busy wings, nor the azure dragonflies 
lost or gained a shade of color, since we Cam- 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 181 

bridge children caught them in our childish 
hands. Yesterday by a lonely oak grove there 
fluttered out a great purple butterfly, almost 
fresh from the chrysalis, and alighted just be- 
fore me, waving its lustrous wings. It was the 
beautiful Papilio philenor, which Dr. Harris 
showed us in college, as having just been 
found, an entire novelty, in the Botanic Gar- 
den. I had not seen it for twenty years, and 
here it was, the same brilliant tropical crea- 
ture, propagated through a series of unwatched 
generations, perhaps unnoticed till it reached 
this lonely grove. With a collector's instinct 
I put my hat over it, but it got away and I 
was hardly sorry. It had come to link me with 
those vanished years." 

Looking back on those early days, it would 
seem that the butterfly world might have drawn 
from my banished prince something of its 
peculiar charm. Certainly this winged race 
has long been familiar with royal family titles ; 
at least, ever since Linnaeus drew its scientific 
names from the Greek mythology, and later 
European entomologists from the Scandina- 
vian, and our own native naturalists from the 
American Indian. Even these names are con- 
stantly changing, with new subdivisions and 
shifting connections ; while the simpler English 
word, drawn obviously, like " butterfly," from the 



182 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

yellow colors predominating in the meadows at 
midsummer, has yet been brought under a new 
interpretation, since a poet's daughter, Sarah 
Coleridge, stoutly maintains that the word sim- 
ply originated in the phrase " better fly." 

After all, the chief charm of this race of 
winged flowers does not lie in their varied and 
brilliant beauty, nor yet in their wonderful 
series of transformations, — their long and sor- 
did caterpillar life, their long slumber in the 
chrysalis, or the very brief period which com- 
prises their beauty, their love-making, their 
parentage, and their death. Nor does it lie in 
the fact that we do not yet certainly know 
whether they have in the caterpillar shape the 
faculty of sight, or not, and do not even know 
the precise use of their most conspicuous organ 
in maturity, the antennae. Nor does it consist 
in this, that they of all created things have fur- 
nished man with the symbol of his own immor- 
tality. It rather lies in the fact that, with all 
their varied life and activity, they represent an 
absolutely silent existence. 

Victor Hugo has indeed somewhere pro- 
nounced the whole insect world to be, with 
hardly an exception, a world of silence. We 
feel, he says, as if life involved noise, but the 
most multitudinous portion of the race of liv- 




VICTOR HUGO 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 183 

ing things — fishes and insects — is almost 
absolutely still. The few that buzz or murmur 
are as nothing compared to the vast majority 
which are born and die soundless. If this be 
true of insects as a whole, it is of butterflies 
that it is eminently truest. All the vast array 
of modern knowledge has found no butterfly 
which murmurs with an audible voice, and only 
a very few species which can even audibly click 
or rustle with their wings ; Darwin first observ- 
ing these in South America, and others record- 
ing them at long intervals of years in Europe, 
and, finally, in the United States. Mr. Scud- 
der has not only detected a soft sound in one 
or two cases, proceeding from the wings, and 
sounding like the faint rustling of sandpaper, 
but he hazards the opinion that many of the 
quivering or waving motions of the wings of 
these bright creatures, although inaudible to us, 
may be accompanied by sounds which the but- 
terflies themselves or their kindred might hear. 
If they can be thus heard without sound, 
why do we not at least hear more of them by 
fame in literature ? They contribute much of 
the summer grace of the universe : they are of 
all beings the most picturesque in their lives, 
having three different phases of existence, each 
peculiar, and all frequently gorgeous, — the 
caterpillar, the chrysalis, and the imago, or fully 



1 84 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

developed creature. They are unquestionably 
more numerous and more varied than birds, 
— the number of species far larger, and the 
swarms incomparably greater, where swarming 
is their practice ; when they enter poetry, they 
do it with yet more grace ; but fewer authors 
describe them, and those few more charily. 
Thoreau, for instance, rarely mentions them, 
and in some ways seems singularly ignorant 
of them. Thus in his MS. diary (1853-54, page 
395) he describes himself as bringing home 
from the marshy meadows the great paper co- 
coon of the gray sphinx moth (Attacus cecro- 
pia), and as carrying it unrecognized to Dr. 
Harris, to learn about it, — an object which 
every schoolboy knows, one would suppose, 
and which is at least of close kindred to the 
butterflies. 

The butterflies being thus silent, it is not, 
perhaps, strange that we do not interpret them 
better, but that each observer makes his own in- 
terpretation, or his own sympathetic response, 
varying, it may be, from any other. Thus 
Austin Dobson, writing poetry on a fan that 
had belonged to the Marquise de Pompadour, 
sees delineated upon it, "Courtiers as butter- 
flies bright ; " while Bryant in his " June " finds 
the creatures quite too indolent to be approved 
as courtiers : — 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 185 

" The idle butterfly 
Should rest him there." 

Edmund Gosse, meanwhile, sees in their mien, 
as he watches them resting in the grass, no 
trace of idleness, but rather the fatigue due to 
arduous labor: — 

" The weary butterflies that droop their wings." 

Percy Mackaye in his blithe book, " The Can- 
terbury Pilgrims," complicates the matter by 
obliging the butterfly to keep off the attentions 
of the moth-miller : — 

" Mealy miller, moth-miller, 
Fly away ! 
If Dame Butterfly doth say thee nay, 
Go and court a caterpillar ! " 

And Keats, always the closest of observers, 
acquits his winged creatures of all care when 
he says of Endymion, — 

" His eyelids 
Widened a little, as when Zephyr bids 
A little breeze to creep between the fans 
Of careless butterflies." 

But when we turn to that marvelously gifted 
family into which so much of the descriptive 
power of Keats has since passed, we find Charles 
Tennyson weaving the butterfly's wing and the 
human heart's love into a cadence so exquisitely 



1 86 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

delicate that his laureate brother never sur- 
passed it : — 

SONNET 

To On Accidentally Rubbing the Dust from a 

Butterfly's Wing 

The light-set lustre of this insect's mail 

Hath bloom'd my gentlest touch — This first of May 

Has seen me sweep the shallow tints away 

From half his pinion, drooping now and pale ! 

Look hither, coy and timid Isabel ! 

Fair Lady, look into my eyes, and say, 

Why thou dost aye refuse thy heart to stay 

On mine, that is so fond and loves so well ? 

Is beauty trusted to the morning dews, 

And to the butterfly's mischanceful wing, 

To the dissolving cloud in rainbow hues, 

To the frail tenure of an early spring, 

In blossoms, and in dyes ? and must I lose 

Claim to such trust, all Nature's underling ? 

Mrs. Piatt, our American poet, reached a 
profounder, if less exquisite, touch when she 
thus reproved her adventurous boy for revers- 
ing the usual insect development by removing 
the wings of a butterfly: — 

AFTER WINGS 

This was your butterfly, you see, — 
His fine wings made him vain : 

The caterpillars crawl, but he 

Passed them in rich disdain. — 

My pretty boy says, " Let him be 
Only a worm again ! " 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 187 

O child, when things have learned to wear 
Wings once, they must be fain 

To keep them always high and fair : 
Think of the creeping pain 

Which even a butterfly must bear 
To be a worm again ! 

And elsewhere she moralizes, as is her 
wont : — 

" Between the falling leaf and rose-bud's breath ; 
The bird's forsaken nest and her new song 
(And this is all the time there is for Death) ; 
The worm and butterfly — it is not long !" 

More thoughtful still, and in the end more 
uplifted, is this fine poem by Mary Emily Brad- 
ley, a poet from farther West : — 

A CHRYSALIS 

My little Madchen found one day 

A curious something in her play, 

That was not fruit, nor flower, nor seed ; 

It was not anything that grew, 

Or crept, or climbed, or swam, or flew ; 

Had neither legs nor wings, indeed ; 

And yet she was not sure, she said, 

Whether it was alive or dead. 

She brought it in her tiny hand 

To see if I would understand, 

And wondered when I made reply, 
" You 've found a baby butterfly." 
"A butterfly is not like this," 

With doubtful look she answered me. 



188 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

So then I told her what would be 
Some day within the chrysalis ; 
How, slowly, in the dull brown thing 
Now still as death, a spotted wing, 
And then another, would unfold, 
Till from the empty shell would fly 
A pretty creature, by and by, 
All radiant in blue and gold. 

" And will it, truly ? " questioned she — 
Her laughing lips and eager eyes 
All in a sparkle of surprise — 
" And shall your little Madchen see ? " 
" She shall ! " I said. How could I tell 
That ere the worm within its shell 
Its gauzy, splendid wings had spread, 
My little Madchen would be dead ? 

To-day the butterfly has flown, — 
She was not here to see it fly, — 
And sorrowing I wonder why 
The empty shell is mine alone. 
Perhaps the secret lies in this : 
I too had found a chrysalis, 
And Death that robbed me of delight 
Was but the radiant creature's flight ! 

The extraordinary gifts of the butterfly race 
have always excited the wonder not only of 
naturalists, but of the most ignorant observers. 
Note their silent and unseen changes; the 
instinct by which they distinguish their 
favorite plant-food, as, for instance, among the 
scarcely differing species of the complex race 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 189 

of asters, where they show themselves, as Pro- 
fessor Asa Gray said, "better botanists than 
many of us ; " their skill in depositing their 
eggs unerringly on or near the precise plant on 
which the forthcoming caterpillars are fitted' 
to feed, although they as butterflies have never 
tasted it To these should be added their 
luxurious spread of wings, giving opportu- 
nities for those curious resemblances of color 
which protect them during the few days of 
their winged state ; and, finally, the brief time 
when, if ever, their eggs must be laid and the 
continuance of the race made sure. The 
whole realm of animal " mimicry," as it is now 
termed, reaches its highest point in them, and 
leads to some extreme cases : as in the fact 
that, while butterflies are ordinarily monoga- 
mous, there is yet one species in Africa which 
has departed so widely from this rule that the 
male has not one mate only, but actually three 
different wives, each so utterly unlike him in 
appearance as to have long been taken for 
wholly different species. 

Even in winter, Agassiz tells us, the changes 
in the eggs of insects go on through the sea- 
son, protected by the shell, and this is still 
more true of the chrysalis. Living butterflies 
prepare for spring freedom by nestling away 
in great numbers during the previous autumn. 



i 9 o PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

This is especially true of the early " Mourn- 
ing Cloak " (Euvanessa antiopa), called in Eng- 
land the " Camberwell Beauty," which has been 
recorded in every month of the year in our 
Northern states. No one really knows where 
these butterflies may go, but they may be seen 
by scores around favorite windows, following 
their instinct of retreat. One of them lived all 
winter in the cellar of a house near mine in 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, changing its posi- 
tion half a dozen times during that period. 
Yet butterflies of the same or kindred species 
have been known to spend all of two winters 
in the chrysalis, leaving the intermediate sum- 
mer also a blank. This is one of the few 
butterflies which lay their eggs in extremely 
methodical clusters, usually on the under side 
of a leaf ; and sometimes a hundred may thus 
be hatched side by side, bending down the 
branches. 

Let me turn again to my early outdoor 
journal (1861) for this brief meditation on a box 
containing chrysalids. " There is something 
infinitely touching in the thought that these 
creatures which have been leading a life so free, 
even if low and sordid, have now utterly sus- 
pended all the ceaseless action and gone to 
sleep in this little box of mine, each inclosed 
in a yet smaller self-made tomb, patiently 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 191 

awaiting resurrection to an utterly new life. 
When I think of the complete suspension of 
their active existence during this dark time, 
and of the quiet invariable way in which all the 
generations of insect life have gone through 
the same slumber and transfiguration ever since 
the universe began, it makes our human birth 
and death seem greater mysteries than ever." 

Reverting again to my old notebook, I read 
this confession which I still cannot retract: 
" I find that to me works of art do not last like 
those of nature. I grow tired of pictures — ■ 
never of a butterfly." There is doubtless among 
these airy creatures something akin to the 
mind's visions, else why in various nations and 
under varying religions should the same insect 
have represented immortality; or why, when 
the most gifted of recent French writers of fic- 
tion, de Maupassant, lost control of his mind 
and said perpetually, "Ou sont mes idees?" 
should he have fancied that he found them in 
butterflies? Or how else can we explain so fine 
a strain of profound thought as in this sonnet 
by an else unknown English poet, Thomas 
Wade, writing in 1839: — 

THE BURIED BUTTERFLY 

What lovely things are dead within the sky, 
By our corporeal vision undiscern'd — 



192 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

Extinguish'd suns, that once in glory burn'd ; 

And blighted planets mouldering gloomily 

Beyond the girdle of the galaxy ; 

And faded essences, in light inurn'd, 

Of creatures spiritual, to that Deep returned 

From whence they sprang, in far Eternity — 

This e'er to know is unto us forbidden ; 

But much thereto concerning may we deem, 

By inference from fact familiar : 

Beneath those radiant flowers and bright grass hidden 

Withers a thing once golden as a star 

And seeming unsubstantial as a dream. 

In passing from the transformations of the 
butterfly to its higher affinities and analogies, 
we find them suggested well in this finely 
touched poem by Miss Ina Coolbrith of Cali- 
fornia : — 

THE MARIPOSA LILY 

Insect or blossom ? Fragile, fairy thing, 

Poised upon slender tip, and quivering 

To flight ! a flower of the fields of air ; 

A jewelled moth ; a butterfly, with rare 

And tender tints upon his downy wing, 

A moment resting in our happy sight ; 

A flower held captive by a thread so slight 

Its petal-wings of broidered gossamer 

Are, light as the wind, with every wind astir, — 

Wafting sweet odor, faint and exquisite. 

O dainty nursling of the field and sky, 

What fairer thing looks up to heaven's blue 

And drinks the noontide sun, the dawning's dew? 

Thou winged bloom ! thou blossom-butterfly ! 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 193 

A similar range of affinities is touched less 
profoundly, yet with finished grace, by Mrs. 
Louise Chandler Moulton : — 

A PAINTED FAN 

Roses and butterflies snared on a fan, 

All that is left of a summer gone by ; 
Of swift, bright wings that flashed in the sun, 

And loveliest blossoms that bloomed to die ! 

By what subtle spell did you lure them here, 
Fixing a beauty that will not change, — 

Roses whose petals never will fall, 

Bright, swift wings that never will range ? 

Had you owned but the skill to snare as well 
The swift- winged hours that came and went* 

To prison the words that in music died, 
And fix with a spell the heart's content, 

Then had you been of magicians the chief ; 

And loved and lovers should bless your art, 
If you could but have painted the soul of the thing, — 

Not the rose alone, but the rose's heart! 

Flown are those days with their winged delights, 
As the odor is gone from the summer rose ; 

Yet still, whenever I wave my fan, 
The soft, south wind of memory blows. 

We should not overlook, moreover, the fact 
that our most wayward American poet, revert- 
ing for once unequivocally to the : prose form, 
has given the best and the most graphic but- 



194 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

terfly picture easily to be found in that shape. 
The many critics of Whitman, who have 
expressed the opinion that he marred and 
perhaps shortened his fame by choosing an 
habitual measure neither prose nor verse — as 
did the once admired author of " Proverbial 
Philosophy " before him — may find their con- 
viction strengthened, perhaps, by the peculiar 
attractiveness of this outdoor reverie in prose : 
" Aug. 4 [1880]. — A pretty sight ! Where 
I sit in the shade — a warm day, the sun shin- 
ing from cloudless skies, the forenoon well 
advanc'd — I look over a ten-acre field of lux- 
uriant clover-hay, (the second crop) — the livid 
ripe red blossoms and dabs of August brown 
thickly spotting the prevailing dark-green. 
Over all flutter myriads of light-yellow but- 
terflies, mostly skimming along the surface, 
dipping and oscillating, giving a curious ani- 
mation to the scene. The beautiful spiritual 
insects ! straw-color'd Psyches ! Occasionally 
one of them leaves his mates, and mounts, 
perhaps spirally, perhaps in a straight line in 
the air, fluttering up, up, till literally out of 
sight. In the lane as I came along just now I 
noticed one spot, ten feet square or so, where 
more than a hundred had collected, holding a 
revel, a gyration-dance, or butterfly good-time, 
winding and circling, down and across, but 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 195 

always keeping within the limits. The little 
creatures have come out all of a sudden the 
last few days, and are now very plentiful. As 
I sit outdoors, or walk, I hardly look around 
without somewhere seeing two (always two) 
fluttering through the air in amorous dalliance. 
Then their inimitable color, their fragility, 
peculiar motion — and that strange, frequent 
way of one leaving the crowd and mounting 
up, up in the free ether, and apparently never 
returning. As I look over the field, these yel- 
low-wings everywhere mildly sparkling, many 
snowy blossoms of the wild carrot gracefully 
bending on their tall and taper stems — while 
for sounds, the distant guttural screech of a 
flock of guinea-hens comes shrilly yet some- 
how musically to my ears. And now a faint 
growl of heat-thunder in the north — and ever 
the low rising and falling wind-purr from the 
tops of the maples and willows. 

" Aug. 20. — Butterflies and butterflies (tak- 
ing the place of the bumblebees of three 
months since, who have quite disappear'd) 
continue to flit to and fro, all sorts, white, yel- 
low, brown, purple — now and then some gor- 
geous yellow flashing lazily by on wings like 
artists' palettes dabb'd with every color. Over 
the breast of the pond I notice many white 
ones, crossing, pursuing their idle capricious 



196 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

flight. Near where I sit grows a tall-stemm'd 
weed topt with a profusion of rich scarlet 
blossoms, on which the snowy insects alight 
and dally, sometimes four or five of them at a 
time. By and by a hummingbird visits the 
same, and I watch him coming and going, 
daintily balancing and shimmering about. 
These white butterflies give new beautiful 
contrasts to the pure greens of the August 
foliage (we have had some copious rains lately), 
and over the glistening bronze of the pond- 
surface. You can tame even such insects; I 
have one big and handsome moth down here, 
knows and comes to me, likes me to hold him 
upon my extended hand. 

" Another Day, later. — A grand, twelve- 
acre field of ripe cabbages with their prevailing 
hue of malachite green, and floating-flying over 
and among them in all directions myriads of 
these same white butterflies. As I came up 
the lane to-day I saw a living globe of the 
same, two or three feet in diameter, many 
scores cluster'd together and rolling along in 
the air, adhering to their ball-shape, six or 
eight feet above the ground." 

This white butterfly described is doubtless 
the cabbage butterfly (Pieris rapa) already 
mentioned. It was too early in the season for 
its full practice of that swarming propensity in 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 197 

which it surpasses all others, and which a poet 
thus puts on record; but Mr. Scudder tells 
us of an occasion when Dr. Schultze found 
himself in a dead calm in the Baltic Sea, and 
"steamed for three hours and a distance of 
thirty miles through a continuous flock of the 
Cabbage butterfly, from ten to thirty miles 
from the main land, and only five miles less 
than that from the nearest island; afterward 
the shore was found strewn with their dead 
bodies." 

If only to show that others, twenty years 
before Whitman, had written for their own 
pleasure some outdoor records of these fair 
creatures, I will venture to print from my old 
notebook this mention of a walk in Princeton, 
Massachusetts, a mountain village which I 
have never seen surpassed as a nursery of 
butterflies and birds : — 

"July 16 [1862]. — In the morning went 

to visit Miss 's school. Often as I have 

dreamed of a more abundant world of insects 
than any ever seen, I never enjoyed it more 
vividly than in walking along the breezy up- 
land road, lined with a continuous row of milk- 
weed blossoms and white flowering alder, all 
ablaze with butterflies. I might have picked 
off hundreds of Aphrodites by hand, so ab- 
sorbed were they in their pretty pursuit ; and 



198 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

all the interspaces between their broader wings 
seemed filled with little skipper butterflies, and 
pretty painted-ladies (Pharos) and an occasional 
Comma, The rarer Idalia and Huntera some- 
times visit them also and a host of dipterous, 
hymenopterous and hemipterous things. The 
beautiful mountain breeze played forever over 
them and it seemed a busy and a blissful world." 

These names have all doubtless suffered 
what may be called a land-change, in the more 
than forty years since this was written, — so 
constant are the shiftings of insect family 
names in the hands of the scientists, — but 
they bring back, to one person at least, very 
happy memories of summer friends. 

It is a curious fact, yet perhaps not wholly 
inappropriate to our broad and sunny Ameri- 
can continent, that while England far exceeds 
us in the thorough and patient study of the 
habits of the insect world, yet butterflies fig- 
ure less, on the whole, in English poetry than 
in American. Looking somewhat carefully, for 
instance, through the nearly six hundred pages 
of Sir M. E. Grant-Duff's recent "Anthology of 
Victorian Poetry," I find but one allusion to 
these fair things, namely, in Mrs. Norton's coup- 
let, taken from " The Lady of La Garaye:" — 

" The butterfly its tiny mate pursues 
With rapid fluttering of its painted hues." 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 199 

Yet Mr. Stedman in his volume of American 
poetry — a book of about the same size — has 
a number of poems on this precise subject, 
several of which have here been quoted; while 
other fine passages he fails to quote, as that in 
which Alfred Street speaks of 

" the last butterfly, 
Like a wing'd violet, floating in the meek, 
Pink-color'd sunshine, sinks his velvet feet 
Within the pillar'd mullein's delicate down, 
And shuts and opens his unruffled fans." 

Does this difference come from our more 
varied landscape, or from our brighter sun- 
shine, lending a more brilliant tint to the 
waving wings ? Of course this comparison 
may be regarded as accidental, since no but- 
terfly allusion is more familiar than that of 
Wordsworth, — 

" My sister Emmeline and I 
Together chased the butterfly ; " 

although in this, undoubtedly, the human in- 
terest is predominant, and the insect furnishes 
only an excuse for it. Bayley's " T'd be a but- 
terfly " is hardly worth mentioning, or Rogers's 
too didactic " Child of the sun ! " but no four 
lines present this winged world with more sol- 
emn impressiveness than where Lord de Tabley 
in his " Circe " writes, — 



200 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

" And the great goblin moth, who bears 
Between his wings the ruin'd eyes of death ; 
And the enamell'd sails 
Of butterflies, who watch the morning's breath." 

Yet this is only a single stanza, and I know 
of no sustained poem on the butterfly so full of 
deep thought and imagination — despite some 
technical defects — as this, by an author less 
known than she should be, Mrs. Alice Archer 
James, of Urbana, Ohio. With it this series of 
quotations and reminiscences may well enough 
end, the writer fearing lest he may, after all, 
have only called down upon himself the re- 
proach of Chaucer, — 

" Swiche talkying is nat worth a boterflie." 

THE BUTTERFLY 

I am not what I was yesterday, 

God knows my name. 
I am made in a smooth and beautiful way, 

And full of flame. 

The color of corn are my pretty wings, 

My flower is blue. 
I kiss its topmost pearl, it swings 

And I swing too. 

I dance above the tawny grass 

In the sunny air, 
So tantalized to have to pass 

Love everywhere. 



BUTTERFLIES IN POETRY 201 

Earth, O Sky, you are mine to roam 

In liberty. 

1 am the soul and I have no home, — 

Take care of me. 

For double I drift through a double world 

Of spirit and sense ; 
I and my symbol together whirled 

From who knows whence ? 

There 's a tiny weed, God knows what good, — 

It sits in the moss. 
Its wings are heavy and spotted with blood 

Across and across. 

I sometimes settle a moment there, 

And I am so sweet, 
That what it lacks of the glad and fair 

I fill complete. 

The little white moon was once like me ; 

But her wings are one. 
Or perhaps they closed together be 

As she swings in the sun. 

When the clovers close their three green wings 

Just as I do, 
I creep to the primrose heart of things, 

And close mine, too. 

And then wide opens the candid night, 

Serene and intense ; 
For she has, instead of love and light, 

God's confidence. 



202 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

And I watch that other butterfly, 

The one-winged moon, 
Till, drunk with sweets in which I lie, 

I dream and swoon. 

And then when I to three days grow, 

I find out pain. 
For swift there comes an ache, — I know 

That I am twain. 

And nevermore can I be one 

In liberty. 
O Earth, O Sky, your use is done, 

Take care of me. 



X 

WORDSWORTHSHIRE 

THOUSANDS of people climb eagerly 
each year to the high seats of the cheery 
four-handed coaches that roll through the 
Lake District of England, upon white roads 
winding over hill and dale, on driveways as 
smooth as marble pavement ; but among these 
travelers it was left for Lowell to hit upon 
one happy name for the whole region, and to 
christen it Wordsworthshire. It is Words- 
worth who represents its centre; in that re- 
gion he was born, in that region he died, and 
the little churchyard at Grasmere, where his 
grave is to be seen, lies so close to the stop- 
ping-place of the coaches that either the most 
deliberate English guest, or the most hurried 
American, is able to step from his hotel after 
dinner and take a look at the storied spot 
while his horses are being reharnessed. Gras- 
mere is the point at which Lake roads mainly 
centre, and so moderate is the British taste for 
stately monuments, when compared with the 
more showy habits of us Americans, that the 



204 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

simple gravestone of Wordsworth yet remains 
without disturbance, having the graves of the 
family around, and poor Hartley Coleridge's 
stone set close behind, with the pathetic motto, 
" By Thy cross and passion," carved upon it. 

Almost all travelers view these modest 
memorials hastily, and then drive on. But 
the American pilgrim who has come from 
afar among the heights of Wordsworthshire 
has perhaps experienced as he went onward 
what John Keats (in 1818) described as being 
his feelings when he climbed Skiddaw, as if 
he were " going to a tournament." Thus im- 
pressed, the traveler gathers by degrees in ima- 
gination a group of companions around him, 
in the semblance of those honored heroes who 
dwelt in Wordsworthshire so long. Through 
the letters and descriptions, and even satires, 
of their day, he recognizes them by their very 
looks. He conjures up for himself such a 
group as might have visited Grasmere when 
the smooth, white, winding roads did not 
exist, and when the dashing coachmen were 
not; and when those who met were simply 
friends and acquaintances, gathered for out- 
door comradeship, unmindful of fame. 

First comes, for instance, a tall man with 
drooping and narrow shoulders, and legs so ill- 
shaped that though he had, as De Quincey 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 205 

estimates, walked one hundred and eighty 
thousand miles with them, some feminine critic 
remarked that he ought to have a better pair 
for Sundays. He wears a blue-black cape over 
a frilled shirt, and an old-fashioned cutaway 
coat with a bit of an old " boxer" hat, whatever 
that may be, reinforced by an umbrella above 
his head, and a green shade over his eyes. 
This is Wordsworth. Then imagination brings 
up a man broadly built, of middle height, 
clumsy and rolling in gait, heavy-faced, yet 
with magnificent forehead, and with jet black 
hair, now turning gray. That is Coleridge. 
Then comes a younger man, under-sized, with 
shuffling gait, prematurely gray, carrying his 
cane as if it were a gun, alternately running 
and stopping short ; that is Hartley Coleridge, 
— " the children's poet," they call him, and he 
seems a grown-up child himself. Then there 
appears a slender and spectacled man, wearing 
a cap on his head and wooden clogs on his 
feet ; carrying a book in his hand and looking 
at you vaguely, as if you were a book, but he 
could not read you ; this is Southey. A smaller 
man, but also slender, with large brown eyes, 
is De Quincey, of whom Southey said to a 
friend, " I will thank you, sir, to tell him that 
he is one of the greatest scoundrels living." 
And there again, looking as if sent into the 



206 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

world to be a contrast to all these wise philo- 
sophers, is a man of great height and superb 
shoulders, dressed in loosely collared shirt and 
white duck trousers, and standing by the tiller 
of his boat as it comes up to the pier on Win- 
dermere. This is Christopher North, less well 
known as John Wilson, who, when he springs 
on shore, will seem to make the earth tremble 
under him, with his agile weight. This man 
has before now walked, it is claimed, fifty- 
seven miles in eight hours, and has jumped the 
Cherwell where it is twenty-three feet wide. 
Then comes a tall, dark-eyed man with clerical 
and commanding look, and two fine boys be- 
side him ; he is Dr. Thomas Arnold ; and the 
schoolboy John Ruskin is here watching them 
all. Add to these two ladies, Mrs. Wordsworth, 
so exquisitely described in the noblest poem of 
wedded love ever written, beginning " She was 
a phantom of delight," and Dorothy Words- 
worth, with her small figure, stooping shoul- 
ders, quick movements, and wild brown eyes, 
who has rejected, according to Disraeli, half a 
dozen lovers, including Hazlitt, in order to stay 
with her brother. This is the group which 
fancy calls around us, and they have come to- 
gether, sometimes walking long distances over 
mountain paths from the various headquarters 
of poetic life among the lakes and mountains 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 207 

of Wordsworthshire. The especial charm which 
the American visitor finds there, indeed, is 
in choosing for himself some one point of in- 
terest and making it the centre of his explora- 
tions. 

The region of Wordsworthshire, of course, 
includes Cockermouth in Cumberland, where 
Wordsworth and his brothers and sisters were 
born, and Hawkshead, a quaint little hamlet 
of a few streets only, with stone houses such 
as he called " gray huts " fronting in different 
directions. This is where Wordsworth was 
sent to school after his mother's death in his 
ninth year. Here he used to make a daily cir- 
cuit of Esthwaite Lake, five miles round, be- 
fore school hours, with a favorite schoolfellow, 
John Fleming, — 

" Repeating favorite verses with one voice, 
Or conning more, as happy as the birds, 
That with us chanted. " 

Here, in the winter, when the lake was frozen, 
he got his materials for the only poem on skat- 
ing which has found a real place in literature, 
although Mr. W. T. Palmer has lately published 
an admirable prose sketch called " Skating on 
Windermere " (" Lake-Country Rambles "). We 
know of Wordsworth, moreover, that his inex- 
haustible love of outdoor things was not, as 
in the case of so many Englishmen, merely a 



208 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

minor incident in some form of athletic sports, 
but that his mind was full of images of natural 
beauty, while he also loved all exercise that 
was in itself daring and even perilous. He 
says in " The Recluse," — 

" Nothing at that time 
So welcome, no temptation half so dear, 
As that which urged me to a daring feat : 
Deep pools, tall trees, black chasms, and dizzy crags, 
And tottering towers — I loved to stand and read 
Their looks." 

Wordsworth's earlier poems were largely 
written far from the Lake District, while stay- 
ing with Coleridge at Nether Stowey, but he 
and his sister removed to Grasmere in 1799. 
The poet Gray had visited that lake thirty 
years before, and had described the region as 
one of the " sweetest landscapes that art ever 
attempted to imitate." He thus portrays it: 
" The bosom of the mountains spreading here 
into a broad basin discovers in the midst Gras- 
mere-Water. Its margin is hollowed into small 
bays, with bold eminences, some of rock, some 
of soft turf, that half conceal and vary the 
figure of the little lake they command. From 
the shore, a low promontory pushes itself far 
into the water, and on it stands a white village, 
with the parish church rising in the midst of 
it. Hanging inclosures, cornfields, and mead- 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 209 

ows, green as an emerald, with their trees, 
and hedges, and cattle, fill up the whole space 
from the edge of the water ; and just opposite 
to you is a large farm-house, at the bottom of a 
steep, smooth lawn, embosomed in old woods 
which climb halfway up the mountain side, and 
discover above them a broken line of crags 
that crown the scene. Not a single red tile, 
no flaring gentleman's house, or garden walls, 
break in upon the repose of this little unsus- 
pected paradise ; but all is peace, rusticity, and 
happy poverty in its neatest and most becom- 
ing attire." 

This, or something approaching this, was 
still the condition in which Wordsworth and 
his sister found that region ; and in his " De- 
scription of the Scenery of the Lakes" he 
earnestly deplores the manner in which high- 
roads and summer visitors were just beginning 
to intrude. It was not until 1 726 that an exten- 
sive system of roads had been even attempted 
in that region, where heretofore the only com- 
munication had been by means of pack-horses 
on rough mountain paths, and it was not es- 
tablished, after its fashion, until 1750. Not 
until then was that immortal couplet called 
forth by village enthusiasm, — 

" Had you seen these roads before they were made 
You would lift up your hands and bless General Wade." 



210 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

It was to this region of peace that the Words- 
worths betook themselves previous to the writ- 
ing of the poem called " The Recluse ; " he 
dwelling with his sister, of whom he says, — 

" Where'er my footsteps turned, 
Her voice was like a hidden bird that sang ; 
The thought of her was like a flash of light 
Or an unseen companionship, a breath 
Of fragrance independent of the wind." 

Here he wrote " The Brothers," based on an 
incident actually occurring at Grasmere ; here, 
too, " The Idle Shepherd Boys," which Southey 
criticised as making the shepherd boys trim 
their hats with rushes, although, as Words- 
worth says proudly, "Just as the words had 
passed his lips, two boys appeared with the 
very plant entwined around their hats." Here, 
in describing a tarn beneath Helvellyn, he 
says, — 

" There sometimes doth a leaping fish 
Send through the tarn a lonely cheer," 

a statement which was gravely censured by 
good Mrs. Barbauld as impossible. Here he 
wrote " The Pet Lamb," and turned the head 
of " Little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty 
rare," the heroine, through the fact that the 
poem was unluckily copied into a child's read- 
ing-book which had been introduced into 
her school ; here he made the poem " On the 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 211 

Naming of Places," beside a brook of which he 
says, " I have composed thousands of verses 
by the side of it." Here Coleridge and Lamb 
visited him, but we get the amplest picture of 
these poet-lives in the diary of Dorothy Words- 
worth, where, day by day, the events which 
suggested the poems were minutely described, 
with the circumstances under which each was 
written, and also the time and place where she 
copied it. There was such unity between these 
two that Wordsworth observed as well through 
her eyes as through his own, and often he 
seemed simply to versify her written descrip- 
tions. Later, after his marriage, his wife shared 
this influence over him. One of the points often- 
est visited by the modern pilgrim is that still 
charming scene at Ullswater, in the woods 
below Gowbarrow Park, where daffodils begin 
to grow along the shore, and continue, as I can 
testify, into what Dorothy Wordsworth well 
describes as " a long belt " of them. This is the 
scene of the poem beginning, — 

" I wandered lonely as a cloud," 

and nothing better illustrates the extent to 
which Wordsworth himself really created de- 
scriptive outdoor poetry of simple nature in 
English literature than that this poem should 
have been at first ridiculed in a degree to call 



212 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

forth from Wordsworth the retort that " there 

were two lines in that little poem which, if 

thoroughly felt, would annihilate nine tenths 

of the reviews of the kingdom, as they would 

find no readers." These two lines were in 

reference to the daffodils, — 

" They flash upon that inward eye 
Which is the bliss of solitude," 

and were contributed by Mrs. Wordsworth. 

As, in a poet-haunted region, the visitor 
easily follows up the wanderings of the poet 
for the sake of the harvest he brought back 
from them, so the same visitor wishes to follow 
the poet back to his home to reach the hum- 
blest traditions of his personality which still 
linger there. Thus at Grasmere you can either 
row on the lake with its abundant water-lilies, 
which so disappoint an American by their 
scentlessness ; or you can linger round the 
rose-covered Dove Cottage, where the cheery 
old custodian remembers Wordsworth well, 
and tells you that he was thought " naught o\ 
naught o' at a'," in his lifetime, and then nar- 
rates how she could have made her fortune 
by buying up the poet's furniture, which was 
sold for a song after he died. Alas ! she only 
bought two rugs and a chair, and now there is 
nothing left of them but shreds. Or you can 
visit Rydal Mount, on high, hilly ground, with 



POETS OFTHE PRESENT-DAY 




POETS OF THE PRESENT DAY 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 2 1 3 

trees and flowers and terraced walks, where, 
as another old woman tells you, Wordsworth 
used to walk up and down "bumming awa' 
wi' his poetry," and leaving his sister to pick 
up his rhymes and write them out. In the 
region about Rydal Mount, Canon Rawnsley 
says, he was not recognized as Poet Laureate 
by his country neighbors, but was " nobbut old 
Wadsworth o' Rydal," the " stamp-maister." 
Within the house at Rydal Mount, if you are 
fortunate enough to be admitted, you will see 
the cuckoo clock of which the poet wrote, and 
Haydon's fine picture of him, which must have 
a genuine resemblance, as it strongly suggests 
that man of very distinguished appearance, the 
present Mr. William Wordsworth of Capri, 
grandson of the poet, and himself a favorite 
of the Muse, although modestly hiding his 
gifts by refusing to publish his productions. 

At Grasmere, too, you see the rush-bearing, 
a festival now preserved only there and at 
Ambleside, and drawing children and parents 
from long distances to a quaint old church 
dedicated to St. Oswald. This building is sup- 
posed to date back farther than the Norman 
Conquest, as it is mentioned in Doomsday 
Book, and its extant records stretch back over 
nearly eight centuries. Up to 1840, it had no 
floor above the bare earth, which it was the 



214 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

custom to strew with rushes immediately after 
the hay harvest in each year ; and though the 
floor is long since built, the rush-bearing still 
takes place annually on the Saturday next 
after August 5, St. Oswald's day. Though the 
ceremony occurs late in the afternoon, the 
children are gathering in all day, and sit upon 
the stone wall around the church waiting for 
the village band, or occasionally break away 
in smaller groups of two or three, holding 
aloft their wreaths or high, decked staves and 
crosses, in every conceivable variety of struc- 
ture. They refresh themselves during the day 
with hot little gingerbread cakes from a small 
shop just outside the churchyard, where the 
omnipresent English old woman dispenses her 
counterfeit men and animals to an ever renew- 
ing group of children. After the straggling 
procession has finally passed by, there awaits 
the elder guests a different entertainment in 
a wrestling match, coeval with the rush-bear- 
ing, but taking place at the other end of the 
village, where country youths, standing in 
a circle, try falls with one another in turn, 
all criticised as freely by the bystanders and 
measured as closely by their previous laurels 
as if they were on a cricket ground in Eng- 
land, or a baseball ground in America. Both 
of these old-time festivals are honest, quaint, 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 215 

simple, and commanding interest from all, lay 
or clerical. Hartley Coleridge, himself, used 
to head the rush-bearing, while he lived ; and 
when one thinks of him one must recall with 
pitying tenderness the " philosopher child," as 
he was called, who could not enjoy a ride in a 
wheelbarrow in boyhood, because, as he said, 
"the pity is that I 'se always thinking of 
my thoughts ; " — a child so dreamy that five 
minutes after his mother had whipped him 
he would go up and ask her to whip him again, 
and so sensitive that if any one began to read 
from a newspaper he would leave the room for 
fear there should be something dreadful in it. 
We learn from De Quincey's " Literary 
Reminiscences " at least one side of that labo- 
rious author's life at Dove Cottage, and we feel 
a curious desire to know the precise dimen- 
sions of the little sitting-room which he de- 
scribes as being " also and more justly termed 
the library," and as "populous with books." 
He gives the dimensions of the room as " seven- 
teen feet by twelve, and seven and a half feet 
high," and when I asked his old housekeeper 
how he could have found room for his book- 
shelves, since De Quincey himself gives the 
total number of his books as six thousand, she 
replied with surprise that his books were piled 
all round the wall to the ceiling. Sometimes 



2i6 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

they were in two or three detached piles, one 
above the other, and wherever there were chinks 
in the corners, or books of different sizes met, 
he chose those places for the safe-keeping of 
his money. Whenever he wanted a sovereign 
or two, she said, he went to some corner and 
fished it out. Here De Quincey lived and 
studied, wrote and thought, drinking tea, as 
another narrator says, from " eight at night to 
four in the morning," unless engaged in drink- 
ing something stronger out of a decanter be- 
hind the teapot. Here he came to live unmar- 
ried in 1808, — eight years before his marriage 
to Margaret Simpson, — and here he remained 
until he removed to London. 

Windermere has fewer strictly literary asso- 
ciations than Grasmere, but Professor John 
Wilson and his home at Elleray furnish such 
associations through the traditions of his long 
residence. This was first in the one-storied 
house with its great sycamore-tree, still visible, 
of which he said that " not even in the days 
of the Druids could there have been such 
another tree. It would have been easier to 
suppose two Shakespeares." It was at Elleray 
that in building his large new house, opposite, 
he put down turf instead of boards in his 
dining-room, that he might take his favorite 
pursuit of cock-fighting by way of dessert. 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 217 

The country side all knew him, knew that he 
could, in his own phrase, "sail a boat, or jump 
a long jump, or wrestle, or fight a cock, or 
write a stanza," against any man in that re- 
gion. Looking down on Windermere, where 
the visitor is now surprised at seeing so little 
sailing, he may recall the day when the " Ad- 
miral of the Lake," as Wilson was called, in 
his ten-oared barge, headed the gay procession 
of fifty boats with music and streamers, wind- 
ing its way among the islands and along the 
shore, that he might show to Scott, Words- 
worth, Canning, Lockhart, and the rest, the 
charms of Windermere. 

It has been well said that Greta Hall is to 
Keswick what Dove Cottage is to Grasmere. 
Coleridge lived there first, then Southey for 
forty years, while Coleridge usually wandered 
afar, Southey supporting his family. Charles 
Lamb describes his visit to Greta Hall, under 
protest, as he thought the dirt and mud of 
London so much better than anything else, 
that he wished hills, woods, lakes, and moun- 
tains " to the Eternal Devil ; " but every Amer- 
ican student finds it full of delightful associa- 
tions. They show you the very rooms where 
Southey's great collection of books, num- 
bering fourteen thousand volumes, was kept ; 
more than a thousand of these having been 



218 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

bound in cambric of various colors by the 
ladies of the household. These were kept in 
an especial chamber, which he christened " the 
Cottonian library." They show also the very 
place where he used to sit for hours out of 
doors reading or writing, his chair being placed 
on the bowling green. One may see in the 
church the impressive reclining marble statue 
of Southey, with its fine face and wonderfully 
youthful head of hair, — hair that absolutely 
grew dark again, his son tells us, after becoming 
almost white, and was, moreover, only thicker 
as he grew older. 

Southey was for many years Poet Laure- 
ate, and had a comfortable pension; his lit- 
erary work was highly paid, but no author 
ever worked harder and more continuously. 
His daily life is best summed up for us in a 
letter which he wrote in 1814 declining a cer- 
tain proposition from an editor : " I cannot get 
through more than at present, unless I give up 
sleep, or the little exercise which I take (and 
I walk to the Crag [one mile] before break- 
fast) ; and, that hour excepted, and my meals 
(barely the meals, for I remain not one minute 
after them), the pen or the book is always 
in my hand." His one recreation was in a 
mountain excursion or picnic enterprise, in 
which he shone, for he thought little of a walk 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 219 

of twenty-five miles ; or in all-day excursions 
with his own and the Coleridge children, as 
far as Otterbield Bay on Derwentwater. But 
the reader can scarcely wonder, after tracing 
the records of a life so absolutely laborious, 
how the inexhaustible student who followed it 
should have dwelt with a certain delight in his 
" Omniana " upon the little town of Norcia in 
the papal territories, where a law was made 
that all men who could read and write should 
be excluded from taking any part in the gov- 
ernment, so that their Board of Control, con- 
sisting of four persons, was called Li quattro 
Illiterati^ The Four Illiterates"). Nor can it 
cause surprise that, before he was sixty-eight, 
mind and memory both failed, and his greatest 
pleasure was in wandering about his library, 
taking down his books mechanically, and some- 
times hiding them one behind another, so that 
he might in his second childishness look for 
them again. 

Yet so great was Southey's enjoyment, on 
the literary side, during this long sedentary 
career, that he wrote to Coleridge (March 12, 
1804), " Talk of the happiness of getting a 
great prize in the lottery ! What is that to the 
opening of a box of books ! The joy of lifting 
up the cover must be something like what 
we shall feel when Peter the Porter opens the 



220 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

door upstairs, [into heaven] and says, ' Please 
to walk in, sir ! ' That I shall never be paid for 
my labor according to the current value of 
time and labor, is tolerably certain ; but if any 
one should offer me ten thousand pounds to 
forego that labor, I should bid him and his 
money go to the devil, for twice that sum could 
not purchase me half the enjoyment" Four 
years later he wrote, " Huzza ! two-and-twenty 
volumes already ; the * Cid,' when reprinted, 
will make two more ; and, please God, five a 
year in addition as long as I live." 

You go from Keswick up over Windy Brow 
to Chestnut Hill, and still find in its garden 
and among its rhododendrons the pretty cot- 
tage whither Shelley, just expelled from Oxford, 
came at the age of nineteen (1811) with his 
bride of sixteen, both so poor that he wrote, 
" We are in danger every day of being deprived 
of the necessaries of life ; " and where the 
young bride said in answer to an inquiry, " The 
garden is not ours ; but then, you know, the 
people let us run about in it whenever Percy 
and I are tired of sitting in the house." The 
visitor finds himself in the very room where 
the young poet wrote his address to the Irish 
people and many poems ; where he tried chemi- 
cal experiments after dark, and his landlord, 
Gideon Dare, drove him out of the house next 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 221 

day, as being concerned in what he called 
" black art." Members of the Dare family still 
live there, and preserve the tradition with that 
fidelity always shown by descendants in com- 
memorating even the eccentricities of their 
lawful progenitors ; just as old college alumni 
show a pride even in the pranks of their class- 
mates. 

Mrs. Shelley's remark about the garden was 
made, according to De Quincey, to one of the 
ladies of the Southey family who called upon 
the young people at the suggestion of the 
Duke of Norfolk, who took an interest in them 
De Quincey, himself, regrets not having called 
upon Shelley, although thirteen miles away, — 
which was a trifle in the Lake District, — and 
would have been glad, he says, to offer him the 
use of his library, " which, being rich in the 
wickedest of German speculations, would natu- 
rally have been more to Shelley's taste than the 
Spanish library of Southey." This was, it must 
be remembered, six years before Shelley had 
made himself famous by the " Revolt of Islam." 

Passing up in the same direction by what 
is called Rakefoot Lane, you turn, as Thomas 
Gray did in 1769, into a cornfield on the right 
called Castelrigg, and see the same circle of 
Druid stones, some fifty in number, which he 
described. Druid stones and gypsies always 



222 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

seem to the American traveler in England so 
naturally associated and so nearly coeval that 
I remember to have seen with delight a large 
and quite luxurious gypsy wagon stationed 
near us as we went toward the stones. There 
were the occupants, with their horses feeding 
near them, children gamboling about, and a 
swarthy and handsome woman smiling at us 
as we waved a passing salute. Unfortunately 
for the picturesqueness of the world, the gyp- 
sies are steadily passing over to America, where 
they cease to be picturesque, and sometimes 
become even useful; while the Druid stones 
are left behind, although there have been, it 
is said, propositions sent across the Atlantic 
for the removal, or at least the purchase, of 
Stonehenge. 

Descending to Derwentwater, you come out 
on Friars' Crag, and stand in the spot where 
Ruskin drew his first impressions of the beau- 
ties of nature. He says in " Modern Painters," 
" The first thing which I remember, as an event 
in life, was being taken by my nurse to the 
brow of Friars' Crag on Derwentwater ; the in- 
tense joy, mingled with awe, that I had in look- 
ing through the mossy roots, over the crag, into 
the dark lake, has associated itself more or less 
with all twinings of trees ever since." He said 
afterwards, " The scene from Friars' Crag is 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 223 

one of the three or four most beautiful views 
in Europe. And, when I first saw Keswick, it 
was a place almost too beautiful to live in." 
Farther down the lake, in Otterbield Bay, is 
the place where Southey used to take his 
own and the Coleridge children on the water, 
as Mrs. Coleridge described it, " all day " and 
" pretty often during the summer." 

The descriptions of the mountains in Words- 
worthshire by the Lake Poets and prose writers 
are apt to impress an American coming to this 
region — perhaps from among the Alps, if not 
from the Rocky Mountains or the Himalayas 
— with a sense of extreme exaggeration. They 
are called " vast and towering masses," " enor- 
mous barriers," and Scott wrote of " the mighty 
Helvellyn and Catchedecam." But all thought 
of comparative criticism soon passes from the 
visitor's mind, since the mountains of the Lake 
District are so striking in themselves, and are 
set off in such a marked way by the valleys as 
to create their own standard of measurement ; 
and one no more criticises them in respect 
to size alone than one complains of a family 
of tall and well-built men for not being a set 
of Patagonian giants. The peculiarity of the 
valleys, moreover, pointed out long since by 
Wordsworth, is that they are not merely con- 
vex cups, as in most mountain regions, but are 



224 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

more like level floors, marking out definitely 
the abruptly rising heights, and so enhancing 
them. " They are not formed, as are most 
of the celebrated Welsh vallies," Wordsworth 
says, " by an approximation of the sloping bases 
of the opposite mountains towards each other, 
leaving little more between than a channel for 
the passage of a hasty river ; but the bottom of 
these vallies is, for the most part, a spacious and 
gently declining area, apparently level as the 
floor of a temple, or the surface of a lake, and 
beautifully broken, in many cases, by rocks and 
hills, which rise up like islands from the plain." 
These valleys, moreover, do not lie along 
large streams, and the lakes they hold are fed 
at most by a mountain torrent, justly baptized 
as a " force." A " tarn " is usually a small lake, 
part way up the mountain side, and has, as 
Wordsworth points out, no main feeder, and 
its name, perhaps, vindicates De Quincey's 
derivation of the word, that it comes from 
the Danish " taaren," a trickling, being a grad- 
ual accumulation of water from the surfaces 
of rock. There are often masses of rock or 
detached boulders around the edges of these 
tarns; and Tennyson, always an accurate 
observer of nature, says that his hero — 

" Roving the trackless realms of Lyonness 
Had found a glen, gray boulder and black tarn." 



WORDSWORTHSHIRE 225 

All observations of English natural scenery are 
sure, after all, to lead us back to Tennyson. 
Carlyle met him and his wife in the Lake Dis- 
trict on their wedding journey, and described 
him as having " a great shock of rough dusty 
dark hair, bright laughing hazel eyes, massive 
aquiline face, most massive yet most delicate, 
of sallow brown complexion almost Indian- 
looking, clothes cynically loose, free and easy. 
His voice musically metallic, fit for loud laugh- 
ter and piercing wail, and all that may lie 
between." 

The Laureate Wordsworth was then just 
dead, and a new Laureate was soon to reign in 
Tennyson himself, a literary sovereign whose 
throne was to be far from Wordsworthshire. 

Note. — The imaginary sketch, in this chapter, of a 
group of Lake authors, assembled in the haunts they 
loved, is to be credited in part to my friend, the Rev. 
H. D. Rawnsley, Honorary Canon of Carlisle, England, 
who has a similar passage in his " Literary Associations 
of English Lakes," though the details in my picture vary 
somewhat from those in his. 






XI 

THE CLOSE OF THE VICTORIAN 
EPOCH 

THE deaths of Herbert Spencer and Philip 
James Bailey, following on those of Lord 
Houghton, Thomas Hughes, and Aubrey de 
Vere, have taken away the last of the figures 
who peculiarly represented, for Americans at 
least, the Victorian literary epoch, just as the 
death of Stepniak dismissed the last of the 
anglicized Russians, and that of Sainte-Beuve 
the last of the great French critics. The first 
two among these owed their earliest really 
enthusiastic readers to this country, while 
Hughes made himself half American, first by 
his sympathies, and then by his colonial ex- 
periments. Aubrey de Vere published poems 
in our magazines, and Lord Houghton opened 
his heart and home to all of us, as he did, in- 
deed, to all the outer world. Of these authors 
and some of their compeers, I propose to set 
down a few notes of remembrance. 

The death of Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) 
seemed in a manner to shift men's thoughts 












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CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 227 

for a moment to an earlier generation, not so 
much because of his advanced years, as be- 
cause he seemed to have made his definitive 
and crowning contribution to human thought 
more than thirty years ago, — » perhaps in his 
"Principles of Psychology" in 1872, — and to 
have flung about his detached seeds of thought 
ever since, to take root widely, indeed, yet in an 
essentially fragmentary way. Spread far over 
men's minds, their scattered harvest has often 
concealed and even obstructed the local pro- 
duct, just as our Southern battlefields are now 
covered with blossoming peach-trees, which 
have sprung from the peach-stones that the 
Union soldiers threw away. Seeming in one 
point of view a triumph, this result, neverthe- 
less, contrasts greatly with the impression 
produced by the recently published letters of 
Darwin, where every letter suggests some in- 
quiry still pending or the germ of some still 
unexplored harvest for the future. This helps 
us to understand why it is that Spencer's fame 
still remains the more insular of the two. 
Neither of them wrote, of course, with French 
terseness, or paid that penalty of shallowness 
to which French intellect is so often limited. 
Neither Darwin nor Spencer can be said to 
have imagination or humor ; but the charm of 
an absolutely ingenuous nature is always felt 



228 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

in Darwin, whereas in Spencer, at his best, 
there is an atmosphere which, if not self-asser- 
tion, at least bears kindred to it. Even in the 
collection and combination of details, as made 
by these two, there is a difference. Darwin is 
methodical, connected, and above all things 
moderate and guarded ; while Spencer's mind 
often seems a vast landing-net thrown out for 
the gathering of every fact which he desires 
to find, however scanty the harvest. He ac- 
counts the hearsay of a single traveler to be 
more than equivalent, if it tends in his own 
favorite direction, to the most elaborate tissue 
of evidence that inclines the other way. 

Spencer had what Talleyrand once defined 
as " the weakness of omniscience," giving un- 
flinchingly his opinions on banking, on dan- 
cing, or on astronomy ; and, although he went 
through life constantly widening his allusions 
and interests, while Darwin modestly lamented 
the steady narrowing of his own, yet it is hard 
to see how any person brought in contact with 
both, either personally or through reading, can 
help finding in Darwin not only the sweeter 
and humbler, but the richer and more lasting, 
nature of the two. Writing at once for trained 
students and for the liberal public, Spencer 
reached the latter easily, and the former with 
less marked success. His generalizations were 



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CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 229 

often vague, and in a manner anticipatory ; he 
relied on evidence yet to come in, and while 
he thus popularized in a manner irresistible, 
he did not so surely carry with him the pro- 
foundest minds. His criticisms of other authors 
were often superficial and shallow, as in the 
case of Kant and Hamilton ; and had not, in 
short, the profound and self-controlled patience 
of Darwin. This being true of Spencer even as 
a home-keeping student, it became especially 
visible in his one noticeable experience as 
a traveler, and those present at his farewell 
dinner in New York still recall vividly the 
amusing effect produced by his cautioning 
his hearers against baldness as an outcome of 
the eager American life, whereas those who sat 
with him at the banquet seemed like an as- 
semblage of highly bewigged men compared 
with the notoriously bald-headed congregation 
of English barristers to be seen every Sunday 
at the Temple Church in London. 

The recognized host of literary Americans 
in London, during the latter half of the last 
century, — after the dea'th of Samuel Rogers 
in, 1855, — was unquestionably the late Lord 
Houghton (1809-85), who, however, bore his 
original name of Milnes until 1863. Never 
was a phrase better employed in the mere 



230 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

title of a book than that given by his biogra- 
pher, Sir Wemyss Reid, to the work entitled 
"Life, Letters and Friendships of R. M. 
Milnes ; " for his friendships were as lasting as 
his life, and almost as numerous as his letters. 
Responding to all introductions with more 
than even the accustomed London prompt- 
ness, Lord Houghton often was the first to 
call upon any well-accredited American of lit- 
erary pursuits arriving in London, to follow 
him up with invitations, and, if necessary, to 
send him home at last with formal resolutions 
of regard, either moved or seconded by Lord 
Houghton. Better still, he was loyal to this 
nation itself in its day of anguish, when even 
Gladstone had failed it. Indeed, he wrote to 
me, when I sent him two volumes of memoirs 
of Harvard students who had died in the 
Union army, that they were men whom " Eu- 
rope has learned to honor and would do well 
to imitate." Not striking in appearance, he 
was a man of more than English range of 
social culture; and he puts on record some- 
where his difficulty in finding half a dozen 
men in London besides himself who could be 
invited to a dinner-party to meet Frenchmen 
who spoke no English. His " Life of Keats " still 
remains an admirable and a very difficult piece 
of work ; and his sketch of Landor in " Mono- 



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CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 231 

graphs" certainly gives us the best delinea- 
tion of that extraordinary man, unsurpassed 
even by that remarkable account of his later life 
in James's " William Wetmore Story and his 
Friends." No one enjoyed more than Lord 
Houghton the Florentine legend that Landor 
had, one day, after an imperfect dinner, thrown 
the cook out of the window into his violet-bed ; 
and, while the man was writhing with a broken 
limb, ejaculated, " Good God, I forgot the vio- 
lets! " Another remark attributed to Landor, 
who liked to dine alone, when he said that a 
spider at least was " a gentleman, for he ate his 
fly in secret," was by no means to be applied 
to the hospitable soul of Lord Houghton. 

Lord Beaconsfield has described Lord 
Houghton, under the name of Mr. Vavasour, 
as one who liked to know everybody who was 
known, and to see everything which ought to 
be seen. " There was not," he says, " a con- 
gregation of sages and philosophers in any 
part of Europe which he did not attend as 
a brother. . . . He was everywhere and at 
everything; he had gone down in a diving- 
bell and gone up in a balloon." Carlyle called 
him the " President of the Heaven-and-Hell- 
Amalgamation Company," and Matthew Ar- 
nold wrote of him to his mother, during the 
Chartist Riots of 1848, that Milnes refused to 



232 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

be sworn in as a special constable, in order 
that he might be free to assume the post 
of President of the Republic at a moment's 
notice. He had known more authors of all 
nations than any Englishman of his day, prob- 
ably; yet his comments on them, especially 
in later time, now and then suggested the 
reply of Samuel Rogers to some one who de- 
scribed the members of a distinguished liter- 
ary fraternity as being like brothers : " I have 
heard they were not getting on well together, 
but did not know that it was quite so bad as 
that." I remember, too, Lord Houghton's com- 
ment when I described a brief interview with 
Tennyson, how he frankly said of his Cam- 
bridge companion and lifelong friend, " Tenny- 
son likes unmixed flattery." The same limita- 
tions affected all his criticism ; and while vin- 
dicating Keats in his " Life," Milnes could not 
help hinting that the Lake Poets marred their 
" access to future fame " by " literary conceit," 
thus suggesting toward the poetry of others 
the same injustice which threatens his own. 
Yet the present writer, at least, who learned 
Milnes's poems by heart in youth, and found 
in " Sister Sorrow " and " Beneath an Indian 
Palm " something second only to Tennyson, 
must still retain love for the poet, as well as 
gratitude to the ever kindly host. 



CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 233 

Next to Lord Houghton, perhaps, in cheery 
cordiality to Americans, was the late Aubrey 
de Vere (18 14-1902), whose smallness of size 
and poetic face seem to substitute him in place 
of Tom Moore as the typical representative of 
the Irish poetic spirit. His name alone seemed 
to impair the genuineness of this Irish qual- 
ity, but it was borne before him by his father, 
Sir Aubrey de Vere, Bart, of Curragh Chase, 
County Limerick; the family name having 
been originally Hunt, but having been changed 
by royal license many years ago to the family 
name of the old earls of Oxford, a race with 
whom there was a remote connection. The 
name of the later poet of this family — for the 
father also had published poems — was well 
known in America, where he had at several 
times contributed to the "Atlantic Monthly " 
and other periodicals ; and also it was gratefully 
known for that sympathy in our national cause 
which he had freely expressed in two sonnets 
of high grade, the one called the " Principle," 
and the other " Principle a Power, or Logic a 
History." He had already written, before the 
Civil War, two sonnets touching on the same 
theme and addressed to Professor Charles Eliot 
Norton; and throughout all these poems he 
had recognized the abolition of slavery as the 
great need of our nation. In yet later verse, 



234 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

he had become more and more thoroughly 
identified with the revival in Irish tradition, 
and, like most of his fellow bards, had sung of 
Queen Meave, of the sons of Usnach, and of 
the Children of Lir. Himself latterly a Catho- 
lic, he needed but little effort to speak for Ire- 
land's heroic age, as he himself loved to call it. 
Sir Leslie Stephen tells us that de Vere 
was one of the most delightful of men, and 
he speaks truly; but when he goes farther 
and informs us that he himself has never read 
a line of his charming friend's poetry, it is un- 
certain whether he is casting doubt upon this 
friend's intellectual claims or his own. Many 
of de Vere's minor verses have in them a touch 
amounting almost to genius ; and perhaps no 
great national sorrow was ever more nobly 
preserved in song than was accomplished in 
the " Hymn in Time of Famine," in Ireland. 
These verses appeared first in a magazine, 
anonymously, and were at once attributed to 
Tennyson, nor could Tennyson have surpassed 
them. They were of themselves sufficient, like 
Kipling's " Recessional," to make a reputa- 
tion ; and that Sir Leslie never took the pains 
to read them shows that he could not safely 
have risked the reputation of his " Dictionary 
of National Biography " on his own unguided 
judgment. All else that is claimed by him for 



CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 235 

Aubrey de Vere was absolutely true, and we 
may add that this poet had all the charm of the 
Irish temperament, combined with a sweetness 
and gentleness not always identified with that 
heroic island, while all its pathos and sorrow 
were incarnated in him. Supposing England 
and Ireland to have become separate nations, 
it would have been by no fighting on his part, 
although he would have accepted the result ; 
and many an English heart, warm beneath its 
seeming coldness, would have looked from the 
windows of the Athenaeum Club, vainly hoping 
for his return at the accustomed season. That 
famous club must indeed seem as essentially 
transformed by not meeting him in the read- 
ing-room as by discovering that Herbert Spen- 
cer is no longer knocking billiard balls about 
in the basement. 

De Vere's published recollections, although 
somewhat too diffuse, especially in dealing with 
his " submission " to the Catholic Church, — an 
event which did not occur until he was nearly 
forty, — are yet full of delightful pictures of 
home life, with many touches of that racy Irish 
humor which was a part of his inheritance. 
In the narrative are intermingled some anec- 
dotes of Wordsworth, who was his father's 
literary model ; and he tells an amusing story 
connected with the ruins of Kilchurn Castle 



236 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

in Scotland, to which Wordsworth addressed 
an early and now forgotten poem. It seems 
that, while still a boy, de Vere was requested 
to read from Wordsworth to two ladies, his 
mother's friends, and he began at this poem, 
reading in a solemn voice : — 

" Skeleton of unfleshed humanity," 

on which one of the two ladies, who was, he 
says, certainly as thin as a skeleton, leaped up 
and said, " Well, I am the thinnest woman 
in Ireland, but I cannot approve of personal 
remarks." Another good story of his telling 
is that of a groom in Dublin Castle, who was 
required to attend a Protestant service at the 
opening of court, in which the chaplain prayed 
that all the lords of the council might always 
hang together "in accord and concord." At 
which poor Paddy forgot where he was, and 
exclaimed at his loudest, " Oh, then, if I could 
see them hanging together in any cord, 'tis 
myself would be satisfied ! " 

Thomas Hughes (1823-96), too, is gone, — 
Tom Hughes would still seem the more accus- 
tomed name, — one of the many men who 
illustrate the somewhat painful truth that the 
heights of philanthropy and self-devotion do 
not yield so sure a fame as a spark of genius, 




' / raffC . 



THE TRUMP CARD 



CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 237 

however wayward it may be. When he came 
to this country in 1870, he was justly received 
as the one man who, more than any other, had 
served as the main tie between Americans and 
Englishmen at the darkest hour of civil war. 
His single testimony in his parting address 
convinced America, for the first time, that the 
English antagonism which cut so deeply dur- 
ing the war was really the antagonism of a 
minority, and that the vast mass of English- 
men were on our side. More than any other 
witness, he convinced us, moreover, that war 
between America and England under any con- 
ceivable circumstances would be essentially a 
civil war, and that we never again should see 
such a war between English-speaking men. 
Perhaps no address made on this side the At- 
lantic during, or immediately after, our Civil 
War afforded such a triumph of international 
influence as that made by him at Music Hall 
in Boston, on October 11, 1870, and printed in 
his "Vacation Rambles." His immediate ser- 
vice to us in England during the war itself had 
certainly prepared the way for this, and doubt- 
less his whole American prestige dated back 
to the period when his " Tom Brown's School 
Days at Rugby " found its way to all boyish 
hearts. In 1880, it will be remembered, he 
was here for the inspection of certain colonies 



238 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

which he had founded for young Englishmen of 
the more educated class, at Rugby, Tennessee. 
Personally, I met him several times in Eng- 
land in a very pleasant way, but had seen him 
first in this country, when I exerted a doubt- 
ful influence over his personal comfort by 
guiding him to Spouting Rock in Newport just 
before an inhospitable wave came up " like a 
huge whale," as he says in his printed diary, 
deluging him completely, while sparing me. 
" The sight," he says, " was superb, and well 
worth the payment on an unstarched coat and 
waistcoat." 

Philip James Bailey (i 8 16-1902) not only 
achieved the distinction of being rarely men- 
tioned, save in connection with a single book 
of his authorship, but of being actually dis- 
missed from life nearly fifty years before his 
real departure, by the highest historic author- 
ity, the " Konversations-Lexikon " of Brock- 
haus, where he who runs may read that Bailey 
died in 1 858. " Festus " had, indeed, the strange 
experience of being largely written before its 
author was twenty years old, — of being com- 
pared on its first appearance to the works of 
Homer, of Virgil, and of Goethe, — of having 
passed through eleven or more editions in 
England and thirty or more in America, grow- 



CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 239 

ing bulkier and heavier as it went on, — and 
of being at last practically forgotten, with its 
author. The book itself undoubtedly owed 
something of its success to the mood of the 
public mind at the time of its first appearance. 
It was printed in the transcendental period; 
it was long-winded, sometimes imitative, often 
feeble, and yet rising in single passages into 
strong lines and regal phrases, suggestive, at 
least, of Marlowe and of Keats. The young 
poet's very conception of literature is on its 
stateliest side : — 

" Homer is gone : and where is Jove, and where 
The rival cities seven ? His song outlives 
Time, tower and god — all that then was, save Heaven." 

Some of his lines have had the highest com- 
pliment paid them by drifting into the vast 
sea of miscellaneous literature, and reappear- 
ing, from time to time, assigned to any one of 
a dozen different authors, as in case of that 
fine passage : — 

" Trifles like these make up the present time ; 
The Iliad and the Pyramids, the past." 

It is testified by all who recall the period of 
the first appearance of " Festus " that the book 
distinctly tended to the training of ardent and 
even heroic souls; and if the author himself 
belonged to that class, he certainly could not 



240 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

have felt, at eighty-six, that he had lived in 
vain. 

The death of Alexander J. Ellis (1814-90) 
took away one of those men of ready and ver- 
satile powers who seem more American than 
English in temperament ; and he was one who 
perhaps strengthened this impression by his 
faithful allegiance to our fellow countryman, 
Mr. Conway, whose Sunday services he at- 
tended in London. After distinguishing him- 
self successively in the higher mathematics, the 
theory of music, horse-taming, and phonology, 

— having, indeed, been a fellow laborer with Sir 
Isaac Pitman in forming the phonetic alphabet, 

— he was, when I knew him, the president of 
the Philological Society, and one of the most 
agreeable of companions. While frankly criti- 
cal of so-called Americanisms in conversation, 

— declaring, for instance, that he had rarely 
met an American who habitually pronounced 
the name of his own country correctly, inas- 
much as they almost all said Ame'ica, — he 
was as yet by no means narrow or autocratic. 
When I asked him, for example, how he pro- 
nounced the word " either," — that is, ether or 
Ither, — he laughed and said that it made no 
difference, but that he sometimes said it in the 
one way, sometimes in the other. Upon this 



CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 241 

his daughter, a lively maiden, broke in merrily 
and said, " Oh, but I think that such a useful 
word ! It reveals a person's age by the way he 
pronounces it. Everybody in England under 
forty says 'e-ther,' and every one over forty 
says c i-ther.' So surely as I hear a man say 
i-ther, I know he is above forty, no matter what 
he pretends." Then we talked of American- 
isms, and Mrs. Ellis said that it had always 
seemed odd to her — since Americans were 
so cordial and sociable and the English were 
justly regarded as stiff — that it should, never- 
theless, be Americans who addressed every 
newcomer as stranger, "or strahnger," she 
added, when English people would more natu- 
rally say " My friend." When I defended my 
fellow countrymen against the charge, and 
described the offending epithet as belonging 
to the newer and more unsettled parts of the 
land, she said with surprise that she had al- 
ways been told that we addressed every new 
acquaintance with " Well, strahnger, I guess." 
I got the advantage of her a little, however, 
when we came to talk of railway travel. She 
inquired if it was true, as she had been told, 
that American railway conductors often stopped 
the trains in order to drive stray cattle off the 
track. I did not feel called upon to tell her that 
I had seen this done in my childhood, when 



242 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

the first railways were built, within a dozen 
miles of Boston, but I explained that it might 
still be done, sometimes, in the great farm- 
ing and grazing regions of the country, were it 
not that we had a contrivance in the shape of 
a frame built out in front of the locomotive 
to guard against that danger. This valuable 
invention, I told her, was known as a "cow- 
catcher." She listened with deep interest, and 
then asked with some solicitude, " But is it not 
rather dangerous for the boy ? " and I inquired 
in some bewilderment, " What boy ? " " Why," 
she answered, " the boy of whom you spoke, 
the cow-catcher!" 

The death of Doctor Jowett, Master of Bal- 
liol College, Oxford (1817-93), — whom it was 
the proper etiquette to address as " Master," 
— recalls associations dear to American stu- 
dents because of his marvelous translation of 
Plato, with others, only less admirable, of Aris- 
totle's " Politics," and of Thucydides. To me, 
personally, it also brings back the happy Com- 
memoration Day at Oxford in 1878, when I 
sat at his dinner-table with the present Duke 
of Devonshire, Sir James Stephen, and others, 
and heard that singular mixture of sermonizing 
and sharp retort which is so well preserved in 
the brilliant pages of Mallock's " New Repub- 



CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 243 

lie." He appears there, it may be remembered, 
as " Dr. Jenkinson," and preaches an imaginary 
sermon which, it is said, annoyed the subject 
of the parody very much. Many are the stories 
yet told at Oxford of his abrupt and formidable 
wit. On one occasion, at one of his own din- 
ner-parties, when the ladies had retired and a 
guest began at once upon that vein of indecent 
talk which is, perhaps, less infrequent among 
educated men in England than in America, or 
is at least more easily tolerated there, Doctor 
Jowett is said to have looked sharply toward 
the offender, and to have said with a decisive 
politeness, "Shall we continue this conversa- 
tion in the drawing-room ? " He then rose from 
his chair, the guests all, of course, following, 
by which measure the offender was, so to speak, 
annihilated without discourtesy. They tell also, 
at Balliol, of a dinner at Doctor Jowett's table, 
when the talk ran upon the comparative gifts 
of two Balliol men who had been made respec- 
tively a judge and a bishop. Professor Henry 
Smith, famous in his day for his brilliancy, 
pronounced the bishop to be the greater man 
of the two for this reason: "A judge, at the 
most, can only say ' You be hanged/ whereas a 
bishop can say * You be damned.' " " Yes," said 
Doctor Jowett, " but if the judge says ' You 
be hanged/ you are hanged." 



244 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

London seemed to me permanently impover- 
ished, when I went there last, by the death of 
one of its most accomplished and most delight- 
ful women, Lady Pollock, mother of the present 
Sir Frederick Pollock, who has lately visited 
us in America, and also of Walter Hemes 
Pollock, former editor of the " Saturday Re- 
view." With the latter, she published " A Cast 
of the Dice " under the pen name of " Julian 
Waters " in 1872, and " Little People and Other 
Tales "in 1874; and ten years later she pub- 
lished from her own pen " Macready as I knew 
Him." This is perhaps the most admirable 
sketch ever written of a great actor, and sug- 
gests more of ripe thought and observation 
about the dramatic profession than any book I 
have ever read. Of the stage itself she was an 
expert critic, being as much at home in Paris 
as in London, and being sometimes expressly 
summoned across the Channel by members of 
the Theatre Francais to see the preliminary 
rehearsal of some new play. Her husband, the 
second Sir Frederick, — the present baronet 
being the third, — was a most agreeable man, 
of tall and distinguished appearance and varied 
cultivation. It was at his house that I first had 
the pleasure of meeting two attractive guests, 
Mr. Venable, then well known as a writer for 
his annual summary of events in the London 



CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 245 

" Times," and Mr. Newton of the British Mu- 
seum. The former read aloud, I remember, 
some of the brilliant " Leading Cases " of the 
present Sir Frederick Pollock, a book of satir- 
ical imitations of leading poets ; and I have 
always associated Mr. Newton with the remark, 
which any person largely conversant with great 
libraries can understand, that on Sundays, 
when he went into the British Museum and 
wandered about among the empty halls, he 
found himself absolutely hating books. 

There still remain to be mentioned two men, 
the one Scotch, and the other what may be 
called English-American, whom I met at a 
London dinner-table under rather odd circum- 
stances, nearly thirty years ago. It was at the 
house of an eminent American journalist then 
residing in London, an old acquaintance, who 
had done me the kindness to invite a few friends 
to meet me at dinner. This being the case, I 
was placed at table, according to custom, on 
the right of the hostess, and saw on her left a 
very tall, strongly built man of intelligent and 
good-natured look, but with an overpowering 
voice, soon bearing down on all others with 
hearty vehemence and jocund anecdote. He 
seemed like one who might consort with a hun- 
dred wandering gypsies, and lord it over them 



246 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

all. On my side of the table sat, with one lady 
between us, a man much younger and widely 
different in appearance, having the look of a 
small and rather insignificant Jewish salesman. 
He was, as my hostess explained to me, a young 
Scotch journalist, who had won quite a reputa- 
tion by a novel called " A Daughter of Heth." 
His name, then wholly new to me, was William 
Black (1841-98), while the other and more 
stalwart neighbor was Charles Godfrey Leland 
( 1 824-1 903), of whom I knew something by 
his earlier writings. As for Black, I had heard 
of his book, but had not read it, and I remem- 
ber that, after the ladies had withdrawn, I 
moved my chair so as to come nearer to him, 
and made some attempt at starting a conver- 
sation, which altogether failed, as his attention 
still clung, not unnaturally but exclusively, to 
Leland, who went on telling uproarious stories. 
Abandoning my effort at last, I turned to some 
one else, and after a while we returned to the 
drawing-room. It was getting late, and I had 
promised to take home in my carriage a daugh- 
ter of Horace Greeley, also a guest ; and while 
talking with our host about this plan, Mr. Black 
rather surprised me by coming up and propos- 
ing quite eagerly that our host and myself 
should go with him to his club and finish the 
evening. This the former declined, because he 



CLOSE OF VICTORIAN EPOCH 247 

could not leave his guests, and I, because of my 
escort duty toward the young lady. I was a 
little amazed at this rather tardy attention on 
Mr. Black's part, after my previous ill success 
in winning his ear; but it was soon necessary 
to take leave, with my young companion, who, 
as soon as the carriage door was shut, burst 
into a merry laugh and said, " I have had such 
an odd time with that Mr. Black." It seems 
that he had sat down beside her on our return 
to the drawing-room, and had remarked to 
her that she, being an American, was probably 
acquainted with all the persons present. She 
replied that, on the contrary, she knew very 
few of them. " Then I can tell you," he said, 
" who some of them are. That," he said, " is an 
American author whom we are invited here to 
meet," and he pointed to Mr. Leland. " No, it 
is not," she said. " You are entirely mistaken. 
I know the gentleman of whom you speak very 
well, and that is an entirely different man, Mr. 
Leland." The key was now given to the young 
author's sudden cordiality toward a stranger. 
But what surprised me was that he should have 
looked on the left side of the lady of the house, 
not on the right, to find the guest for whom 
the dinner was given. It appears from his re- 
cent memoirs, however, that although Black 
had then spent half a dozen years in London, 



248 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

he had had at first but little experience in its 
social life, and may have needed elementary 
instructions in its ways almost as much as I my- 
self did, although I was doubtless visiting the 
Old World, as my friend Madame Th. Bentzon 
has suggested, somewhat in the inexperienced 
capacity of Voltaire's Huron Indian. 



XII 
UNA HAWTHORNE, 

IT has never happened to me, during a life 
of many years, to walk in the streets of a 
city with any companion by my side who has 
attracted, from passing strangers, such ready 
personal notice, followed by eager scrutiny, as 
was usually won by Una Hawthorne, the elder 
daughter of our great literary artist. Tall be- 
yond the average height of women, absolutely 
erect, perfectly unconscious, bearing her fine 
head upon the body of a gymnast, she herself 
kept no account of the eyes resting upon her, 
or of the heads that were turned to watch her 
as she swept by. It was this nobleness of car- 
riage which first arrested attention, and her 
superb Titianesque coloring which afterwards 
held it, — the abundant hair of reddish auburn 
and the large gray eyes. I knew her at one 
time intimately, being, under a certain com- 
bination of events, in a manner adopted by 
her, as a sort of brevet relative. This paper 
will be drawn largely from her own letters, but 
will include also a careful study of her in 
childhood by her father. 



250 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

It is not easy to find a more picturesque 
account of the early married life of two people 
of genius than is given in Mrs. Sophia Haw- 
thorne's letters and journals during her frugal 
winter at the Old Manse in Concord. Take, 
for instance, this passage, as reprinted in her 
daughter Mrs. Lathrop's " Memories of Haw- 
thorne : " " Lately we go on the river, which 
is now frozen, my lord to skate and I to run 
and slide, during the dolphin-death of day. I 
consider my husband a rare sight gliding over 
the icy stream. For, wrapped in his cloak, he 
looks very graceful, perpetually darting from 
me in long, sweeping curves, and returning 
again — again to shoot away. Our meadow 
at the bottom of the orchard is like a small 
frozen sea now, and that is the present scene 
of our heroic games. Sometimes, in the splen- 
dor of the dying light, we seem sporting upon 
transparent gold, so prismatic becomes the 
ice, and the snow takes opaline hues from 
the gems that float above as clouds. It is emi- 
nently the hour to see objects, just after the 
sun has disappeared. Oh, such oxygen as we 
inhale! Often other skaters appear — young 
men and boys — who principally interest me 
as foils to my husband, who, in the presence 
of nature, loses all shyness, and moves regally 
like a king. One afternoon Mr. Emerson and 



UNA HAWTHORNE 251 

Mr. Thoreau went with him down the river. 
Henry Thoreau is an experienced skater, and 
was figuring dithyrambic dances and Bacchic 
leaps on the ice — very remarkable, but very 
ugly, methought. Next him followed Mr. Haw- 
thorne, who, wrapped in his cloak, moved like a 
self-impelled Greek statue, stately and grave." * 

It is still more beautiful indoors : " In the 
evening, when the astral enacts the sun, and 
pours shine upon all the objects, and shows, 
beneath, the noblest head in Christendom, in 
the ancient chair with its sculptured back [a 
chair said to have come over in the Mayflower, 
and owned by the Hawthorne family] ; and 
whenever I look up, two stars beneath a brow 
of serene white radiate love and sympathy 
upon me. Can you think of a happier life, with 
its rich intellectual feasts ? That downy bloom 
of happiness, which unfaithful and ignoble 
poets have persisted in declaring always van- 
ished at the touch and wear of life, is delicate 
and fresh as ever, and must remain so if we 
remain unprofane" (p. 64). 

But this life becomes far more beautiful 
when the eldest child, Una, appears upon the 
scene. It is not, perhaps, much to claim for this 
newcomer when we are told that " her grand- 
mother says she has the most perfect form 
1 Memories of Hawthorne, pp. 52, 53. 



252 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

she ever saw in a baby ; " or when the young 
mother writes, " She waked this morning like 
another dawn, and smiled bountifully." Have 
we not all had grandmothers and mothers ? It 
counts for a little more to say, " I took her to 
William Story's yesterday, and he thought her 
eyes very beautiful, and said he had scarcely 
ever seen perfectly gray eyes before ; and that 
such were the finest eyes in the world, capa- 
ble of the most expression. He added that her 
eyes were like those of an exquisite child of 
Raphael's which he had seen in oils." Else- 
where Mrs. Hawthorne writes to her mother: 
" I never imagined anything so enchanting 
as Una's rapid development. Every morning, 
as soon as she is awake, she extends her little 
hand to the Madonna. Then she points to 
Loch Lomond, . . . and then to Abbotsford, 
each time observing something about the pic- 
tures as she gazes into my face. My replies 
I always feel to be very stupid, but I do as 
well as I can, considering that I am not now 
a baby." 

Afterwards, when they are living in a little 
house in Lenox, Mrs. Hawthorne writes to her 
mother on a rainy Sunday of her two elder 
children — Julian having now arrived : " This 
has been a dull * heaven's day' for the chil- 
dren, who have not been as merry as on a 



UNA HAWTHORNE 253 

sunny day. I have read to them, and shown 
them my drawings of Flaxman's Iliad and 
Odyssey and Hesiod. I wish you could have 
seen them the other day, acting Giant Despair 
and Mrs. Diffidence. They were sitting on 
chairs opposite the doorsteps ; Julian with one 
little leg over the other, in a nonchalant atti- 
tude; Una also in negligent position. They 
were discussing their prisoners, Hopeful and 
Christian, in very gruff and unamiable voices, 
'Well, what had we better do with them?' 
' Oh, beat them pretty well, every day ! ' " 

On another Sunday she writes: "A famous 
snow-storm. I read from Spenser to the chil- 
dren in the morning of St. George and Una, 
Una and the Lion, and Prince Arthur. Then 
Cinderella. They made an exquisite picture 
with the hobby-horse. Julian was upon the 
horse — as a king ; Una at his side presenting 
ambrosia." 

Later we learn how the daughter's nature 
grew in proportion to her intimacy with her 
father. The mother writes : " Dear little harp- 
souled Una — whose love for her father grows 
more profound every day, as her comprehend- 
ing intellect and heart perceive more and more 
fully what he is — was made quite unhappy 
because he did not go at the same time with 
her to the Lake. His absence darkened all the 



254 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

sunshine to her ; and when I asked her why 
she could not enjoy the walk as Julian did, 
she replied, 'Ah, he does not love papa as / 
do ! ' But when we arrived, there sat papa on a 
rock, and her face and figure were transfigured 
from a Niobe's to an Allegra's instantly. . . . 
I heard her and Julian talking together about 
their father's smile, the other day. They had 
been speaking of some other person's smile — 
Mr. Tappan's, I believe ; and presently Una 
said, ' But you know, Julian, that there is no 
smile like papa's ! ' * Oh, no,' replied Julian. 
4 Not likepapa's/"' 

How well this corresponds with what the 
daughter once said to me in later years of her 
father ! " He was capable of being the very 
gayest person I ever saw. He was like a boy. 
Never was such a playmate as he in all the 
world." And while the child was thus living 
in an atmosphere of pure romance with the 
father, he was at the same time studying and 
analyzing her in the minute and anxious way 
seen in the following sketch of Una, a copy of 
which was given me many years ago by Mrs. 
Hawthorne, and was never before, so far as I 
know, put in print. It is of itself deeply inter- 
esting, even apart from its subject, as showing 
the minute personal observation which its au- 
thor habitually applied to the few human types 



' 






* 




UNA HAWTHORNE 



UNA HAWTHORNE 25$ 

with which he came very closely in contact. 
Nothing else, as it seems to me, gives such a 
glimpse from original sources of the manner in 
which this shy and reticent man pursued his 
observations : — 

"There is something that frightens me 
about the child. I know not whether elfish 
or angelic, but at all events supernatural. She 
steps so boldly into the midst of everything, 
shrinks from nothing, has such comprehension 
of everything, seeming at times to have but 
little delicacy, and anon shows that she pos- 
sesses the finest essence of it; now so hard, 
now so tender, now so perfectly unreason- 
able, soon again so wise. In short, I now and 
then catch an aspect of her in which I cannot 
believe her to be my own human child, but 
a spirit strangely mingled with good and evil, 
haunting the house where I dwell. 

" Una, I think, does not possess humor, nor 
anything of the truly comic ; she cannot at all 
bear to be laughed at for anything funny that 
she perpetrates unawares, and when she tries 
to be funny, the result is seldom anything but 
an eccentricity — a wild grimace — an unnatu- 
ral tone ; her natural bent is towards the pas- 
sionate and tragic. Her life at present is a 
tempestuous day, with blinks of sunshine gush- 
ing between the rifts of cloud. She is as full, 



256 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

oftentimes, of acerbity as an unripe apple, that 
may be perfected into mellow deliciousnesfl 
hereafter. She has a very strong craving for 
sympathy, and yet a hundred times a clay she 
seems to defy sympathy, and put herself in 
a position where she knows she cannot re- 
ceive it. 

" Her beauty is the most flitting, transitory, 
uncertain, and unaccountable affair that ever 
had a real existence. It beams out whenever 
nobody expects it ; it has mysteriously passed 
away when you think yourself sure of it; if 
you glance sideways at her, you perhaps think 
it is illuminating her face, but, turning full to 
enjoy it, it is gone again. When really visible, 
it is rare and precious as the vision of an angel ; 
it is a transfiguration, a grace, a delicacy, an 
ethereal fineness, which at once, in my secret 
soul, makes me give up all severe opinions that 
I may have begun to form respecting her. She 
is never graceful or beautiful except when per- 
fectly quiet — violence, exhibitions of passion, 
strong expressions of any kind destroy her 
beauty. Her voice, face, gesture, every mani- 
festation in short, becomes disagreeable. One 
night in spring I asked her to come in and go 
to bed, for it was after six o'clock. ' Where is 
that six o'clock ? Papa, I do not know where it 
is. Oh! I know where it is! It is in Gods day, 



UNA HAWTHORNE 257 

with all the other sixes that have been/ Once 
she broke forth in a chant — ' Oh God ! wrong- 
ness never reigns.' 

" She is not likely ever to be run away with 
by her imagination — her perception of reality 
is constantly on the watch. 

11 Julian said, ' God is the most beautiful of 
Princes.' Una rebuked him and said, ' No, 
Julian, God is a King.' 

" Una says, ' I am tired of all things and 
want to slip into God.' 

" Her auburn curls come down over her face, 
and as to her delicate little phiz, its spirit, grace, 
and sensibility elude the pen that would de- 
scribe it. 

" On my reproving Julian, Una comes to me 
with a remonstrance of no small length, the 
burthen being, ' Papa, you should not speak so 
loudly to a little boy, who is only half years old.' 

" She comes out of trouble like the moon out 
of a cloud, with no shadow of sulkiness hang- 
ing about her — or rather, perhaps, like a rose- 
bush out of a thunder shower, for there is a sort 
of dewy softness remaining, although there is 
the brightness of sunshine in her smile." 

Let us now pass by twenty years or more, 
until this fair child has grown to maturity, and 
read one of her letters written from the house 



258 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

of my sister at Brattleboro, Vermont, where 
Una was making a brief visit. I do not see 
how her father himself could have touched the 
very freshness and fullness of outdoor life with 
a pencil more delicate: — 

Brattleboro, Vt., May 19th, '68. 

I am fresh from the beautiful damp woods, 
with all their wealth of budding green and 
tender flowers, and, absurd as it seems to try 
and tell you about them, I really can't help it. 
When did it ever seem as if there had been 
another springtime, or as if a violet or a wind- 
flower had been seen before ? The glory of it 
all makes me almost afraid, and it seems such 
a pity ever to come home from such an ex- 
quisite fairy-land. 

Aunt Anna and I had planned a walk when 
I first came, but it has rained constantly ; how- 
ever, to-day we bid defiance to the rain, so it 
respected our bravery and our umbrellas, which 
we were punished by having to carry under 
our arms. 

Such a depth and richness of green was 
brought out by the dampness that I would not 
have had it a dry day for the world, and indeed 
I must have been born with a spring in my 
mouth instead of a silver spoon, for I always 
feel twice myself in a showery ramble. 



UNA HAWTHORNE 259 

I wanted to go straight up the perpendicular 
bank behind Mrs. Brown's house, and Aunt 
Anna's enterprise at least equaled mine, and 
we were fully rewarded. The rocks were al- 
most wholly veiled by delicate mosses and 
lichens, in which were planted violets, hous- 
tonias, and anemones, and new ferns undoub- 
ling their green fists, with polygalas, saxifrage, 
and, to my great joy, columbines. The last has 
always had a magical fascination for me, and 
makes me feel as no other flower can. It repre- 
sents the aristocracy among wild flowers, with 
its haughty and airy grace and proud crimson 
and gold. It not only " the likeness of a kingly 
crown had on," but it is itself a crown. 

There was a peculiar half moss, half lichen 
on the rocks, looking like large green ears, 
and with this I lined the bottom of my basket, 
intending to cover the earth in Aunt Anna's 
flower-pots with it. Then the flowers showered 
in, mixed with long trails of partridge-vine 
with its bright red berry. I pulled up a royal 
plant with all its nodding columbines by the 
roots to put down by that huge stump in the 
garden, where the simple thing does n't know 
but it is at home. Then we penetrated into 
the delicious woods, wishing for you ... at 
every step. Oh, why are n't you here ? I can't 
bear to enjoy it all without you, when you want 



26o PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

it so much ; and should we not find beautiful 
secrets together in these deep recesses ? 

The trees were mostly tall, slender pines, 
many of them thrusting their twisted roots 
out of the ground, and others fallen all their 
length, making bridges and arches, and holding 
up a huge shield of roots at the end. The busy 
moss had wrapped them all in its soft green, 
and had lined and draped a thousand green 
recesses, making me wish I was a fairy to live 
in them. Surely, man has never built a man- 
sion that is arrayed like one of these ! 

It was a most Gothic wood, with its pointed 
trees and arches, and long vistas inviting us 
onward. How impossible it seems that a wood 
path can ever have an end ! 

At last we saw water gleaming at a dis- 
tance, and came to a clear tarn, lined with 
brown leaves and holding a fair picture in its 
bosom. A short distance from this was a cav- 
ernous spring that delighted me extremely. 
The opening was oblong, lined with the natu- 
ral rock and stones for a depth of some five 
feet, and then it was excavated under the earth, 
or rather the rock, and there we saw the water 
bubbling, clear and cold. What a place for 
summer, and how one envies the frogs ! But 
these seemingly endless woods had an end, 
and we came out on some open rising ground, 



UNA HAWTHORNE 261 

whence we had a glorious view of the valley, 
where the trees were already dreaming of 
summer, and sketching an outline of their 
greenness. 

Luminous mists, "slow-dropping veils of 
thinnest lawn," took the place of the sunshine, 
making a pearly radiance in the air, and the 
far blue mountains made an exquisite horizon. 

And here the world came upon us, in the 
shape of two small children, a girl with some 
columbines in her hand, and a boy with some 
plebeian dandelions. " I say, you give me 
some of yours," said the boy, " and you shall 
have all mine ! " " No, I don't want yours," said 
the girl, airily skipping down the bank. " Oh, 
you 're stingy ! " said the boy, as he followed 
her, with an accent of the most supreme con- 
tempt. 

Then we came home, and I think you might 
wish yourself either one of your pictures if you 
want to have a good time. Before one [picture] 
is a little basket, lined with moss and filled 
with tiny ferns, violets, anemones, houstonias, 
and polygalas, and many more. Under the other 
is a tall vase with a long partridge-vine twisted 
round it, and filled with columbines, uvularias, 
and slender branches of delicately tinted maple 
leaves mixed with white flowers and ferns. I 
enjoyed arranging them very much, but oh, 



262 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

how dead and colorless my letter seems ! How 
I wish I had a little bit of the secret of nature 
to put into it ! But that secret hovers near me 
in the air, it vanishes among the leaves and 
whispers in the flower bells, and though I can- 
not grasp or utter it, I feel as if in time it might 
make me beautiful with its peace. 

I find in turning over her letters that most 

of them refer to private affairs which I am not 

at liberty to touch, but there are two of her 

European letters which may be printed. It 

must be borne in mind that she first went 

abroad with her parents as a child, being first 

in England and then in Italy, and then, after 

the death of her father in 1864, she went abroad 

with her mother, who died in London in 1871. 

The following letters were written during this 

absence : — 

Dresden, April 19th, 1869. 

Dear , — I am very glad to hear from 

you at last, for I began to fear that your wee 
farewell note was the last of our correspond- 
ence, and could not wonder that many more 
important and pleasant concerns put it out of 
your head. But I see I am favored beyond my 
deserts, and I find this much pleasanter than 
being treated with strict justice. ... I have 
been delighted to hear of your housekeeping 



UNA HAWTHORNE 263 

and its happy results. If I came to see you in 
winter, you would not put me in a room that 
had never known a fire, with a feather-bed and 
one blanket, and a small pitcher of ice-water, 
would you ? Well, I am sorry I can't have 
that shivery experience of Newport cancelled, 
though I don't believe I should ever be warm 
there, in the midst of summer. . . . Any old 
friend would be welcome to me now. As to 
new ones, I abominate them — or rather the 
idea — for I have n't made any. The doors of 
my heart are shut, I believe, on the short and 
precious number already inside, and it is not 
common to meet fascinating specimens of one's 
country-people abroad. We live apart, in a 
quiet, independent way, and only occasionally 
hear a murmur of the detestable gossip and 
lavish fashion on the other side of the river, 
or see a glimpse of velvet trains. . . . The Sis- 
tine Madonna and I (was my name ever so 
associated before !) are very glad you are com- 
ing to Europe, and we hope the but we involve 
will not fail to bring you to Dresden. Really 
and truly, you must not go back without com- 
ing here, and I think you would find yourself 
fully repaid, for the interests and charms of 
this city and its environs are very great, and 
surely you would not consider your tour com- 
plete unless there was a streak of German 



264 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

through it. The spring, as we find, is so spe- 
cially lovely here that I hope you can time 
your visit then — or at any rate not in winter, 
for I suppose the remarkable winter we have 
just passed will not soon repeat itself. And 
even this winter we have had gales of wind 
that make the Newport ones seem like mere 
whispers, and which shook the ponderous stone 
mansion in which we participate so that we 
began to feel there was no stability in material 
things. 

I like my German life very well, and I 
think Europe is a delightful place for women. 
I should except the present typical woman of 
America, I suppose, as much as I would a 
young man with a fortune and a career to 
achieve ; but I am not a typical woman of that 
kind, nor do I delight in them. I like, now at 
least, the intellectual, artistic, dreamy atmos- 
phere, and the sort of easy independence one 
can enjoy here. It would be a selfish life when 
there was a choice of any other, but I do not 
feel that it is for me, because the duties incum- 
bent on me I can fulfill as well here, and gild 
them over a little, besides. At home I saw 
only the rugged fact — here I lose sight of it 
sometimes in pictures and music and loads 
of flowers. Still, I am a very subdued person, 
and realize how the years have fled, and what 



UNA HAWTHORNE 265 

they have brought me, as this return to Euro- 
pean life brings vividly before me my happy, 
enthusiastic girlhood, brimming over with un- 
dimmed hope and trust and love ; when, too, 
my father's smile was the sun in my heaven. 
So near, and yet so far it all is, and I think I 
shall be gayer by and by when the force of the 
contrast wears off. 

It is n't canonical to cross letters, even from 
this side of the Atlantic, I suppose, and though 
I always feel a wicked desire to do it, I will 
spare your eyes and say good-by. ... I am 
so glad you think you can write to me some- 
times ; I hope you really will, though I can do 
little more than love you in return, and that I 
should at any rate — so, you see, you don 't 

gain anything. 

January 28, 1870, Dresden. 

Dear , — I was very glad to get your 

letter after such a long silence. I thought I 
should care less and less to be remembered 
by my friends when I got out here, but I find it 
very much the contrary, and all the galleries 
and music in Europe can't make up for one's 
friends. Indeed, I don't believe I am very ar- 
tistic after all. Of course I always knew I had 
no talent to accomplish anything, but I did 
think I had latent seeds of appreciation, and 
perhaps they would come to something if I 



266 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

was not among these stolid, dirty Germans, 
who disenchant one of all ideas of beauty, and 
make one doubt if there is such a thing as 
spirit. However, we shall certainly be here till 
next autumn, and I hope you will find it pos- 
sible to come here. When I hear how short 
your absence is to be, I see you will have to 
leave out a great deal. I don't believe anybody 
ever tried to accomplish even the beaten track 
of European travel in four months, though it 
has been profitably done in six, and when you 
are once over here it seems a pity not to draw 
a breath. I am extremely surprised your eyes 
were holden that you should not see the fre- 
quent recurrence of that unlovely letter " U " 
in the Italian part of Mamma's book. It is such 
an eyesore to me that on first glancing over the 
book it seemed to stare from every page, but 
in the English portion it of course does not 
occur, because that is taken from letters to me, 
as I was always left at home. 

We see very few American books, except 
the "Atlantic" and "Putnam's," which come 
to us regularly, but it seems to me they are 
not as good as they used to be. Won't you 
write another story ? I have not read Lowell's 
" Cathedral " yet, because I was so generous as 
to lend the magazine before reading it. I ex- 
pected to like it, for I admire a great deal of 



UNA HAWTHORNE 267 

his poetry very much indeed. I think "Under 
the Willows " contains exquisite things, and to 
read his pictures from the Shoals is almost as 
good as going there — better, in one sense, 
because it is such a satisfaction to see put into 
words what you thought was beyond them. 
How wonderfully expressive language can be 
made, after all, and what a glorious instrument 
it is ! And I am quite content with English — 
" my little jaws were never made " to tear them- 
selves to pieces with German monstrosities — 
I never should talk it fluently if I lived a 
thousand years. I have had the little photo- 
graph I inclose for you this great while — I 
always want to send you all the lovely child- 
pictures, and I think this is very sweet. Per- 
haps I shall be able to show you the real one 
now, which is very beautiful in coloring. It 
is too late for your birthday, but that is your 
fault, because you never told me the date 
before. 

I am afraid I shall never be able to write 
anything worth putting in your paper, but if I 
should ever come across any interesting facts 
about women that nobody ever heard of before, 
I will put them at your disposal. The Saxon 
woman is a dull and ponderous specimen, 
whom the man holds not even "better than 
his horse," I am afraid ; certainly the poor ones 



268 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

are made to work much harder, for they are 
absurdly tender of their miserable old horses, 
putting drags on their wheels when the earth 
is scarcely dreaming of an eminence, and some- 
times getting a woman to push behind when 
a hill is to be climbed. I have no opportunity 
to observe the better classes, but it is said the 
same principle runs through all. But Germans 
like to have American wives, and treat them 
better, I suppose, because they won't put up 
with anything else ; but I can't conceive of such 
a thing as marrying an unadulterated Dutch- 
man. 

Mrs. [Helen] Hunt must write charming 
letters, she is so vivid and brilliant herself. I 
heard she was coming to Dresden, and hope 
it may be true — it seems to be the fashion 

for every one to come here. You know 

made a short visit here. She seemed to have 
only half enjoyed her trip, and to think it a 
hard fate to go home. Poor thing, she sailed in 
such awful weather that I was almost afraid 
she would never see the other side ; but she 
said she thought it would be rather good 
fun to be drowned, and I suppose that was a 
talisman. 

After breaking off an early engagement 
which ended unhappily, Una Hawthorne was 



UNA HAWTHORNE 269 

betrothed in later life to a young man of fine 
gifts and literary pursuits, Albert Webster. 
He proved, however, to be in consumption, 
and was soon ordered to Honolulu for his 
health, but died on shipboard and was buried 
at sea. This occurred on December 27, 1876, 
and his betrothed did not hear of it until 
several months later. She died on September 
10, 1877, at Cleeve, England, apparently of a 
broken heart. 

I can do no better, perhaps, than to close 
this imperfect sketch of one of the rarest types 
of character I have ever known by a final sum- 
mary of her qualities, written many years since 
by my elder sister, a woman of unsurpassed 
truthfulness and penetration, with whom Una 
had been closely associated during the forma- 
tive period of her life : — 

" About Una I wish I had 's power of 

saying anything in the way of characteriza- 
tion. She was very peculiar; you were sure 
she had genius, though I do not think I ever 
saw any writing of hers that seemed remarka- 
ble. Her qualities were very inconsistent ; she 
would tell you every particular of circumstances 
that had occurred to herself, and yet you did 
not feel you understood how she felt ; she was 
not transparent, though very confiding ; want- 
ing in judgment and perception of character 



270 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

and easily influenced, though she seemed self- 
reliant. . . . She was excessively fascinating ; 
her father's description of her looks is perfectly 
appropriate ; sometimes she seemed beautiful, 
then entirely the reverse. . . . She was ardent 
and generous always, as I knew her ; the reli- 
gious phase came to her afterwards — that is, in 
a technical way ; she was ever high-minded, but 
did not seem as spiritual as her mother. It 
was impossible she should ever be happy." 









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XIII 
HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 

NOTHING gives to a calm observer, on 
the whole, more respect for children than 
their apparent dislike to the study of history. 
Nor does anything oftener impress one with 
the unreasonableness of parental demands than 
the efforts to force history by main strength 
into childish minds. The father comes home 
from his office or his workshop with a large 
volume done up in a parcel, and says hopefully 
to his little son, " Here, my boy, is the first 
volume of Bancroft's ' History of the United 
States/ You will enjoy reading it very much, 
and when you have got through with it, there 
are six more just like it ! " Then the father set- 
tles himself down to his daily " Herald," and the 
mother to " The Smart Set," feeling that all their 
parental duty is, for the moment, done. Far 
more just and equal was the proposal of a little 
girl of my acquaintance, who suggested to her 
favorite aunt to join her in a spelling match, 
and stipulated that they should "start fair." 
On inquiry as to her standard of fairness, she 



272 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

replied after a moment's reflection, "You shall 
spell Nebuchadnezzar, and I will spell cat; 
that will be starting fair." 

We have discovered long since that every 
child is a born naturalist, but every child knew 
long before the arrival of Darwin that the most 
interesting of all animals is Man. One may see 
on any hillside in the country the open hole 
of a woodchuck, with sticks of various lengths 
lying round it, showing where the village chil- 
dren have vainly sought to explore the depths 
of that mysterious sheltering-place. But there 
was never one of those boys who was not ready 
to leave his explorations at a moment's notice 
on seeing a party of two or three men coming 
up the other side of the hill with spades and 
pickaxes evidently intent on digging a larger 
hole for an unknown purpose, and perhaps for 
the cellar of some human woodchuck's abode. 
Never yet was a boy seen who did not enjoy 
the " Swiss Family Robinson," but history 
written as it should be is all Swiss Family 
Robinson. Every girl takes pleasure in what 
is called at country fairs "A Centennial Tea 
Party," but history properly arranged is a se- 
ries of just such parties. Instead of preferring 
fiction to truth, every child, if fairly treated, 
likes the truth. His dogs must actually bark, 
his cats actually mew. I once knew a profes- 



HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 273 

sor's little son who had been brought up with 
every indulgence except the personal posses- 
sion of a cat. Vainly had he pined for this 
crowning experience, till at last, on making a 
visit to a friend, he was lifted at once to the 
highest point of enjoyment by being introduced 
to a fine specimen of the feline race in full 
vigor. Shutting himself up in the room with 
it, he proceeded to try experiments in natural 
history, and when the cat tried the household 
by its wails, and a maid was hastily sent in to 
withdraw it, the child implored, " Ah, please, 
please, don't take it away; this is the most best 
noise I ever saw a cat do!" A similar taste for 
reality belongs to every youthful mind. 

Is this treating the great cause of human 
education with too much levity ? Yet its great 
local pioneer in the United States was Horace 
Mann, and the fundamental grammar of his 
science was to be found in his very first lecture 
on " The Means and Objects of Common-School 
Education," in 1837. * n tn ^ s he says,. "Allow 
me to premise that there is one ruk which in 
all places and in all forms of education should 
be held as primary, paramount, and, as far as 
possible, exclusive. Acquirement and pleasure 
should go hand in hand. They should never 
part company. The pleasure of acquiring should 
be the incitement to acquire. . . . Nature has 



274 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

implanted a feeling of curiosity in the heart 
of every child, as if to make herself certain of 
his activity and progress." This he elsewhere 
follows up by a graphic description of a boy in 
school drooping sleepily and hopelessly over 
his lesson, and the same child five minutes 
after, when the recess bell has rung. It is per- 
haps his first lesson in a new game; all his 
faculties are on the alert ; he learns as if by 
magic where to stand, when to run, whither to 
run, when he is " in," when and where he is 
" out," how to count the successes or failures 
on his side, in short, a harder ordeal than the 
whole school morning has furnished indoors, 
and yet he calls it play. It may be truly said 
that the basis of the whole public school sys- 
tem of the United States is to be found in 
those early observations by Horace Mann. He 
it was who first pointed out that, in the active 
mind of a child, whatever is understood inter- 
ests, and whatever interests is remembered. 

It is a curious fact that Dr. Samuel John- 
son, who was in his day generally regarded 
among English-speaking people as the supreme 
authority on all intellectual questions, held that 
"great abilities were not requisite for an histo- 
rian." " In historical composition," he said, 
" all the greatest powers of the human mind 
are quiescent. He has facts ready to his hand; 



HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 275 

so there is no exercise of invention. Imagi- 
nation is not required in any high degree; 
only about as much as is used in the lower 
kinds of poetry. Some penetration, accuracy, 
and coloring will fit a man for the task, if he 
can give the application which is necessary." 
It is hard to take seriously a dogma so whim- 
sical, yet it is a further fact worth noticing 
that the famous Dr. Thomas Guthrie in Scot- 
land, who was said to have educated more 
men for the Christian ministry, a hundred years 
ago, than any other living preceptor, divided 
his training into three departments somewhat 
analogous to Johnson's " penetration, accuracy, 
and coloring." These three Dr. Guthrie called 
"proving, painting, and persuading," and they 
were known among his pupils collectively as 
"the three p's." His far-off correspondents, 
indeed, would frequently be reminded of them 
by a postscript at the end of a letter from Dr. 
Guthrie to this effect : " N. B. Remember the 
three p's." Let us consider these elements of 
all knowledge. 

1. The basis of all knowledge, historical or 
otherwise, consists doubtless in a sufficient 
number of proved facts, this number being of 
course dependent on the temperament of the 
person concerned. There is on one side the 
time-worn tradition that "a little learning is 



276 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

a dangerous thing." Yet I remember, on the 
other hand, that I met, while connected with the 
Massachusetts Board of Education, a teacher 
possessed of such remarkable knack at pass- 
ing examinations that he literally never failed 
in the process; and on my asking him his 
secret, he replied that it lay in the fact that 
he had less of general knowledge, not more, 
than most of his competitors, the result being, 
as he said, that what he knew, he knew. Like 
this was, in some degree, the example of Wen- 
dell Phillips, whose use of historical allusion 
in public speaking was singularly effective, 
and who was wont to attribute it all to the fact 
that he had mastered one thing thoroughly 
in history, the period of the English Revolu- 
tion. Personally, I can recall but three public 
speakers whose store of facts seemed to me 
absolutely inexhaustible, these three being 
John Quincy Adams, Theodore Parker, and 
Louis Agassiz ; their treasures in this respect 
lying in three different directions, but seeming 
alike endless. With the mass of men, how- 
ever, it is unquestionable that one fact drives 
out another, and it is doubtful if the most 
learned person carries in his mind more de- 
tails of knowledge when fifty years old than he 
carried at twenty. It is only that he carries 
different things. The great lawyer, for instance, 



HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 277 

obliged to retain in his memory all the minutiae 
of the most complex case, with the liability of 
hopeless defeat should one fact drop out of 
place in the chart of his mental voyage, may 
very likely have to enter on another case by 
wholly forgetting the first one. He can no 
more carry it all with him than he can carry 
the knowledge by which he perhaps graduated 
summa cum laude from college ten years be- 
fore, as for instance chemistry, or the differ- 
ential calculus. Still less can he rival his own 
little girl, whom he may perhaps hear through 
the piazza window reciting to her mother the 
rules for knitting her new bedspread. "Cast 
on 41 stitches. 1st row, knit across plain ; 2d 
row, slip 1, purl 19, purl 2 together, purl 17, 
thread over, purl 2 ; 3d row, slip 1, knit 19, knit 
2 together, knit 17, over, knit 2 ; 4th row, slip 1, 
purl 19, purl 2 together, purl 17, over, purl 2 ; 
5th row, slip 1, knit 19, knit 2 together, knit 
1 7, over, knit 2 ; " and so on through the rest 
of the lesson. 

2. Granting that history must thus begin 
with a limited number of facts, offered simply 
as facts, we come to Dr. Guthrie's second 
intellectual department, which he describes 
as " painting/' This may offer the additional 
charm that it presently takes us into the de- 
partment commonly called " light reading," or 



278 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

still lighter conversation. It is said of Sydney 
Smith that when visiting his parishioners in 
their farmhouses and taken at once into the 
hopeless decorum of the best parlor, he would 
walk to and fro, flinging open the windows 
and exclaiming, " Glorify the room! Glorify 
the room!" Give the child some variety; if 
it be only that achieved by an old black man 
among the freed slaves in war times, who first 
taught his pupils to say the alphabet, and then, 
having attained to the limit of his own know- 
ledge, taught them to say it also backwards. 
Every person who has had much experience 
with children knows that the stupidest child 
develops plenty of vivacity when talking about 
what interests him. When standing up in re- 
citation, he may seem hopeless, but wait till 
recess time, and hear him describe a casual dog 
fight, or a glimpse into a circus, or even that 
historic occasion when the schoolroom stove 
got red-hot and singed the teacher's overshoes, 
and we have Homer's Iliad in a nutshell. I 
well remember that, when just out of college, 
I was intrusted with the pleasing task of show- 
ing Flaxman's " Illustrations of Homer," then 
a novelty, to a young girl who was reputed to 
be fond of reading, and that I pointed out to 
her the inferiority of Flaxman's horses to their 
riders. " Such thick necks," I added critically; 



HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 279 

upon which she remarked with the proper 
humility of a young woman for whom there 
were as yet no colleges, " But did not the Thes- 
salian horses have those thick necks ? " Upon 
this the pride of Harvard sank defeated. Alas, 
I could write verses in Greek hexameter, but 
I did not even know that it was in Thessaly 
that the Greek riding-horses were bred. 

Detail, the animation of detail, is what the 
young student needs. How inconceivably stiff 
and dreary seems to many a child the early 
Puritan life in New England, until he comes 
across some casual anecdote from which it 
suddenly flashes upon him that those formal 
clergymen had a human side. " Holy Mr. Cot- 
ton," for instance, how remote and unapproach- 
able he seems, until the fact suddenly comes 
into view, that this good man was pacing home- 
ward in Boston, wrapped in his Geneva cloak, 
pondering on his next Sunday's sermon, when 
some "street boys " passing by — so the legend 
says, but can it be that there were " street boys " 
in those days ? — were heard to whisper among 
themselves, " Let 's put a trick upon old Cot- 
ton." Upon which one boy, more daring than 
the rest, ran up behind him and shouted in 
his ear, " Cotton, thou art an old fool ! " " I 
know it, I know it," shouted the old gentleman 
suddenly, " the Lord make both thee and me 



280 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

wiser," and then reverted to his meditations. 
Whole pages of fact committed to memory had 
left the life of that time still dull and mechani- 
cal, but this single incident revealed to the 
schoolboy a human side. 

A still more striking illustration of the 
changed point of view in which George Wash- 
ington is now regarded is to be found in the 
fact that all this wider intelligence dates back 
to a single passage introduced by Washing- 
ton Irving in a footnote in a very small print 
at the bottom of a page in the third volume 
of his memoirs. Four or five biographers had 
preceded Irving in their narrations, Ramsay, 
Marshall, Weems, Sparks, and the elder Ban- 
croft ; yet not one of them had ventured to 
concede for an instant that the Father of his 
Country was capable of laughter. Irving at last 
dared to recognize this possibility, and, having 
once done it, could not restrain himself from 
telling how Washington was once so amused, 
while in camp, at a story told by one of his 
young lieutenants, that he not only laughed, 
but was actually seen to roll on the grass, over 
and over, to get to the other end of his laugh- 
ter. Fancy the situation ! Six feet and three 
inches of Father of his Country, rolling over 
and over on the sod in the ineffectual effort 
to finish that laugh. What a trivial and almost 



HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 281 

despicable fact this seemed, as forming a part 
of that great man's career ! Yet it is only since 
that discovery that Washington became to his 
fellow citizens not only the Father of his Coun- 
try, but a fellow man. At the present day it 
would be difficult to find a country school- 
teacher so remote that he would think it 
morally wrong to admit that the first Ameri- 
can President was capable of laughing. 

3. Dr. Guthrie's third department, that of 
" persuading," now shows itself in the higher 
form of freedom of discussion, such as prevails 
more and more universally in all our public 
high schools, where Jew and Gentile, Catholic 
and Protestant, are encouraged to search sub- 
jects for themselves, the pupil simply looking 
toward the teachers as presiding officers in the 
debate. There could hardly, for instance, be 
a finer example of this than in the classes in 
American history which I once saw conducted 
by that fine teacher and well-trained author, the 
late Alice Wellington Rollins. When I said to 
her, " You could not, of course, go through the 
period of the Protestant Reformation in this 
way ? " she replied that there was no period so 
interesting and successful, in her experience. 
Her class, she said, was about equally divided 
between Catholic and Protestant ; the girls in 
succession brought out all they knew, and 



282 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

then, for want of ammunition, begged to have 
the debate adjourned until the next week, when 
they would come back with their cartridge- 
boxes replenished. In answer to my inquiry 
"if either side converted the other," she re- 
plied, " Probably not," but that perhaps they 
lived all their lives holding their own view in 
a larger spirit, as understanding the points at 
which honest minds could differ. The same 
principle applies still more to later questions, 
as to those resulting from the Civil War, where 
it is undeniable that the children of each great 
party can do more justice to the others' point 
of view than would have seemed possible im- 
mediately after the contest. The same result is 
found with still different cases. When consult- 
ing with that gifted teacher, Jane Andrews, 
as to the topics that should be included in a 
school history I was just then writing, I hinted 
somewhat drearily, perhaps, at the hopelessness 
of making the early Colonial charters clear, or 
even intelligible, to very young classes, and she 
at once set any such fear aside, saying that 
there was nothing which her pupils, girls of 
twelve or thereabouts, followed up with more 
ready interest than those very charters. It was 
not long after when her widely famed book, 
" The Seven Little Sisters who Live on the 
Round Ball that Floats in the Air," reached 



HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 283 

these very sisters so thoroughly as to be trans- 
lated into Japanese and Chinese. 

Now it hardly needs to be pointed out, as 
we go farther on, that all these little rules and 
maxims which apply to the child apply also to 
the veteran historian. Its proving, its paint- 
ing, its persuading, must be the same to him. 
Coleridge said that the dullest writer could 
write an interesting book if he would but relate 
the events of his own life with honesty, not dis- 
guising the feelings that accompanied them. 1 
All depends, after all, on the teacher, and even 
that teacher has his inspired moments. It is a 
curious fact that those men of genius who have 
done the most to recognize the picturesqueness 
of our earlier American life were the very men 
who at the outset were troubled by the theory 
that it was tame and commonplace ; as in the 
case of Lowell, who complained that the de- 
tails of New England history were essentially 
dry and unpoetic; and Hawthorne, who had 
maintained that the same period furnished only 
" a dull routine of commonplace prosperity; no 
picturesque and gloomy wrong." 

The vast rapidity with which studies in his- 
tory, and especially in American history, are 
multiplying every day can only recall to us the 
fact that the professional historian, like the 

1 Quarterly Review, xcviii, p. 456. 



284 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

professional lawyer or physician or poet, was 
only developed by degrees in our American 
society. In Virginia the early leaders were 
planters; in the New England Colonies they 
were clergymen ; and all other intellectual lead- 
ership was done by this class, or not done 
at all. There was no distinct class of lawyers 
in Massachusetts, at least, before 1701; and 
even then they were simply admitted as at- 
torneys, with no examination and no study 
required. One favorite Boston attorney, for 
instance, was a quick-witted tailor, others were 
merchants. Attorney-General Bullivant was an 
apothecary. A few men had been trained to 
the bar in England, but even those were liable 
at any moment to have their plans interfered 
with by clergymen who came into court, ex- 
pressed their minds, and often carried the day. 
Among others in the courts there was no cour- 
tesy and no deference. There was jury trial, 
but it happened sometimes, when a juryman 
stood out against the rest, that he was refused 
food and starved into compliance. The court 
bullied the counsel and were treated without 
respect by the bar. One day when a poor old 
woman came hobbling into the court-room and 
found no seat, the lawyer who had summoned 
her as a witness bade her go up on the judges' 
bench, which she innocently proceeded to do, 



HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 285 

and the lawyer, when reproved, replied that he 
thought that place was " made for old women." 
The first English-bred lawyer who set himself 
up as an attorney, Thomas Lechford, in 1637. 
was allowed but one case and then forbidden 
to practice ; and Jeremiah Gridley, called " the 
father of the Boston bar," came to it about 
1730. Out of all this chaos, order was evolved 
in time. But it is a remarkable fact that the 
three leaders most conspicuous in the early 
days of the Revolution, John and Samuel 
Adams and Oxenbridge Thacher, were all 
originally destined for the church, the family 
of Samuel Adams objecting to his becoming 
a lawyer because it was not considered an alto- 
gether respectable profession. 

None of these careers would be likely, as we 
can now see, to train the historian, and when 
the higher training arrived, it came in the 
purely classic form and hindered as much as it 
helped. The late Professor Henry W. Torrey 
told me that he, Charles Sumner, and Wendell 
Phillips used to learn by heart at the Boston 
Latin School whole books of Virgil and Homer 
in the original, and recite lessons from them 
without referring to the text. There were still 
cultivated families where the gentlemen of the 
house would cap verses, as it was called, by the 
evening fireside. Public oratory was measured 



286 PART.OF A MAN'S LIFE 

by just such formal standards. We have in 
the diaries of Rev. John Peirce the precise 
measurement of the length of orations and 
poems at Harvard Phi Beta Kappa meetings 
for many years ; no address, he shows us, had 
exceeded fifty minutes down to 1824, when 
Edward Everett, then in his early glory, went 
up to one hour and fifty-one minutes. 1 

So vast and complex are the developments 
of modern history, it is quite certain that no 
American scholar of high standing would now 
treat with any respect the belittling statement 
of Johnson as to the gifts required of an histo- 
rian. The criticism now belongs rather on the 
other side as to the permanence or final quality 
of the work. The late Justin Winsor, who was 
recognized by almost all as the chief among 
our American historians, always pointed out 
with sadness that even a vast specialist like 
Parkman — the one striking instance among us 
of one who chose his life career in college days 
and never swerved from it — would inevitably 
be superseded as time went on by the man 
of later knowledge; as we already see, indeed, 
in the case of Parkman, that he underrated 
from the outset the claims of the Indians on 
the imaginative side, and did not keep up with 
the later observations. Even Rufus Choate, 

1 Massachusetts Historical Collections y ix, p. 119. 






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HISTORY IN EASY LESSONS 287 

when he turned from his forensic triumphs, 
and said, " After all, a book is the only immor- 
tality," left the problem unsolved, for he did not 
tell what that book should be ; and no one ever 
met the fatal possibilities of that ordeal. Vol- 
taire perhaps solved the problem more nearly 
than Choate, for Voltaire laid it down as a 
maxim that nothing can be more difficult than 
to be obscurely hanged. 



XIV 

THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 

'TWERE is," said George William Curtis, 
■*- in an address at Concord, "a cynicism 
which fondly fancies that in its beginning 
the American republic moved proudly toward 
the future with all the splendid assurance of the 
Persian Xerxes descending on the shores of 
Greece, but that it sits to-day among shattered 
hopes, like Xerxes above his ships at Salamis. 
And when was this golden age ? " His hear- 
ers might well have answered Mr. Curtis by 
saying that this cynicism is of no modern 
origin, but dates back to the very foundation of 
the government. Thus Alexander Hamilton 
wrote on February 27, 1802, to his associate, 
Gouverneur Morris : " Mine is an odd destiny. 
Perhaps no man in the United States has 
sacrificed or done more for the present con- 
stitution than myself; and contrary to all anti- 
cipations of its fate, as you know, from the 
very beginning. I am still laboring to prop the 
frail and worthless fabric. . . . Yet I have 
the murmurs of its friends no less than the 



THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 289 

curses of its foes for my reward. What can I 
do better than withdraw from the scene ? " 

Fisher Ames, perhaps the most brilliant 
American statesman of his time, said six years 
later than this, just before his death in 1808, 
at the end of his lecture on American litera- 
ture : — 

" The condition of the United States is 
changing. Luxury is sure to introduce want ; 
and the great inequalities between the very 
rich and the very poor will be more conspic- 
uous, and comprehend a more formidable host 
of the latter. . . . Liberty has never yet lasted 
long in a democracy; nor has it ever ended 
in anything better than despotism. With the 
change of our government, our manners and 
sentiments will change. As soon as our em- 
perour has destroyed his rivals and established 
order in his army, he will desire to see splen- 
dour in his court, and to occupy his subjects 
with the cultivation of the sciences." 

Those who have won the fight for the sake 
of good, as they fancied, have to recognize that 
all may not turn out in their favorite way. In 
1775, when John Adams came back from Phila- 
delphia after the Convention had organized 
the army and appointed its generals, he met in 
Quincy a horse-jockey who had been his client, 
and who said, "Oh, Mr. Adams, what great 
IV 



290 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

things you and your colleagues have done for 
us. We can never be grateful enough to you. 
There are no courts of justice now in this 
province, and I hope there never will be." Sad 
were Mr. Adams's reflections when he thought 
that perhaps, after all, such men as this might 
be in the majority. And Mrs. Colonel Smith, 
his daughter, after dining with several mem- 
bers of Congress at New York in 1788, wrote 
to her mother, " If you had been present, you 
would have trembled for your country to have 
seen, heard, and observed the men who are its 
rulers. Very different they were, I believe, in 
times past." Yet nearly fifty years later than 
this, in 1835, Chancellor Kent wrote of Judge 
Story, " He says all sensible men at Washing- 
ton, in private conversation, admit that the 
Government is deplorably weak, factious, and 
corrupt. That everything is sinking down into 
despotism under the guise of a democratic Gov- 
ernment." In the same year Miss Catharine 
M. Sedgwick, who stood for many years the ac- 
knowledged head of our women authors, testi- 
fied with the keen sight of a woman to the same 
attitude of mind in those about her. "The 
Federalists believed that all sound principles, 
truth, justice, and patriotism, were identified 
with the upper classes." " They hoped a repub- 
lic might exist and prosper, and be the happiest 



THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 291 

government in the world, but not without a 
strong aristocratic element ; and that the con- 
stitutional monarchy of Britain was the safest 
and happiest government on earth, I am sure 
they believed. ... I remember my father, one 
of the kindest-hearted of men, and most obser- 
vant of the rights of all beneath him, habitually 
spoke politically of the people as 'Jacobins/ 
' sans-culottes^ and miscreants. He — and in 
this I speak of him as the type of the Federal 
party — dreaded every upward step they made, 
regarding their elevation as a depression, in 
proportion to their ascension, of the intelligence 
and virtue of the country. The upward tend- 
encies from education and improvements in 
the arts of life were unknown to them." 

That the same view prevailed among all the 
conservative class in England showed itself 
clearly enough on the publication of Hamil- 
ton's " Men and Manners in America," whose 
moral was thus summed up in " Blackwood's 
Magazine " for September, 1835 : — 

"In Europe, the ascending intellect and 
increasing information of every successive gen- 
eration, have long been conspicuous ; and soci- 
ety has exhibited for three hundred years the 
animating spectacle of each successive genera- 
tion being more elevated and refined than that 
which preceded it. But that is far from being 



2Q2 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

the case in America. There the degrading 
equalizing tendency of democracy is daily ex- 
perienced with more deplorable effects ; and 
instead of the lower orders ascending to the 
intelligence and elegance of the superior, the 
better order of the citizens are fast descending 
to the level of the labouring classes. Each 
successive generation is more coarse, and less 
enlightened, than that which precedes it . . . 
America, Mr. Hamilton tells us, exhibits this 
painful spectacle." 

It was, moreover, such lamentations which 
greeted Harriet Martineau when she came to 
America about this same time. " The first 
gentleman who greeted me on my arrival in 
the United States," in 1834, she tells us, "a few 
minutes after I had landed, informed me with- 
out delay, that I had arrived at an unhappy 
crisis; that the institutions of the country 
would be in ruins before my return to Eng- 
land; that the levelling spirit was desolating 
society; and that the United States were on 
the verge of a military despotism. ... At 
Washington, I ventured to ask an explanation 
from one of the most honoured statesmen now 
living; who told me, with a smile, that the 
country had been in ' a crisis ' for fifty years 
past ; and would be for fifty years to come." 
Miss Martineau is gone, and so, doubtless, is 



THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 293 

her Washington friend and adviser. But he 
has left a numerous family of descendants, 
and newly landing foreigners are still liable to 
meet them on the wharf. 

How are we now to interpret this prolonged 
series of illustrations of what may justly be 
called the cowardice of culture? It is always to 
be borne in mind that the whole period I have 
been describing was a profoundly serious one, 
and that the buoyant element which in these 
days relieves itself from over-solicitude by a 
bonmot or an anecdote had not then come in. 
Among the whole circle of the Federalists, for 
instance, I can find no repartee which seems 
really modern, except that reported to me by 
the only genuine Federalist whom I knew per- 
sonally, James Richardson ; a saying, namely, 
of my grandfather, Stephen Higginson, at a 
gathering of the Federalists, in their days of 
defeat, at the house of George Cabot in Brook- 
line. After a good deal of dreary lamenting, 
my grandfather had at last the audacity to 
suggest to them that if it became necessary 
to dwell in the same house with a cat, it would 
not do invariably to address the obnoxious 
animal as "cat;" sometimes you must call 
her "pussy." There was, however, scarcely an 
occasion where such a remark would not, in 
those days, have been thought to savor of 



294 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

levity ; and if we are to treat the whole thing 
as an historic situation, it must be more seri- 
ously approached. 

The simple fact is that every extension of 
suffrage terrifies every community of voters. 
Every class of men, when first enfranchised, is 
distrusted by the class which it threatens to 
outvote. Nothing is more amusing in view of 
our modern standards of social gradation than 
to see the slow manner in which the mercan- 
tile class has come to social position. The ori- 
ginal charter of Delaware reserved all powers 
of government to a royal council, because, as 
it said, " Politics lie beyond the profession 
of merchants." Dr. Samuel Johnson himself, 
who admitted that much might be made of a 
Scotchman " if he be caught young," and that 
he was willing to love all mankind " except an 
American," could never attribute any social 
standing to a merchant. But if the merchant 
was thus long distrusted, how much more the 
mechanic classes, when their turn for political 
emancipation came, in a period nearer to our 
own! 

" It is pleasant," said the agents of James II 
sent with Governor Andros to Boston, "to 
behold poor cobblers and pitiful mechanics, 
who have neither home nor land, strutting and 
making noe mean figure at their elections, and 



THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 295 

some of the richest merchants and wealthiest 
of the people stand by as insignificant cy- 
phers." Thus in Delaware the merchant was 
distrusted; in New England the mechanic. 
Yet in each case the distrusted class carried 
the day; and the Revolution, which in Vir- 
ginia and Pennsylvania was the work of the 
landholders, was in New England the work of 
the people. The men of wealth and standing 
who took the side of liberty were so few that 
they could be counted ; it was carried through 
by the masses. 

On looking backward, at this length of 
time, we can see the needlessness of all these 
fears. I take it that there was never a period 
in our history since the American nation was 
independent when it would not have been a 
calamity to have it controlled by its highly 
educated men alone. John Randolph used to 
point out that in the Bible the Book of Kings 
succeeds the Book of Judges, and the anti- 
slavery leaders had reason to fear the same. 
Edmund Quincy well said that during the long 
anti-slavery agitation, "the strength of the 
movement was in the masses. The presidents 
of colleges would at any time have voted for 
compromise." I remember, too, when Kossuth 
atFaneuil Hall reminded his hearers that "when 
the battle of Cannae was lost and Hannibal was 



296 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

measuring by bushels the rings of the fallen 
Roman squires, the Senate of Rome voted 
thanks to Consul Terentius Varro for not hav- 
ing despaired of the republic." 

If it sounds like mere extravagance to say 
that the many may be wiser than the few, we 
must remember that the mere word " common- 
sense " implies the same assumption ; and so in 
regard to morals, the masses of the American 
people are doubtless more critical as to moral- 
ity than any exclusive circle. Mr. Bronson 
Howard tells us that a Bowery audience is far 
quicker than a fashionable one to hiss anything 
really immoral in a play. Howells, always pene- 
trating, and commonly accurate, selects a rough 
Californian as the man who voluntarily patrols 
a sleeping-car to be the self-appointed protector 
of the ladies. A solitary girl may travel from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific and meet with less 
of real rudeness than she might encounter in 
the later hours of some fashionable city ball. 
Americans who have lost their character at 
home have sometimes made a great social 
success in London ; and even at Newport or 
Lenox, one may see behind an unimpeachable 
four-in-hand men and women of whom it can 
by no means be said, as Mark Twain said 
of Queen Victoria, that they are " eminently 
respectable and quite the sort of person whom 



THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 297 

one would be willing to introduce into one's 
family." 

If this is true in important matters, it is still 
more true of trivialities of dress and demeanor. 
Take, for example, the use of the hat. In that 
well-known authority, Pepys's " Diary," which 
is held as an infallible record of the manners 
of its period, we find, under date of September 
22, 1664, " Home to-bed; having got a strange 
cold in my head, by flinging off my hat at din- 
ner, and sitting with the wind in my neck." 
So in Lord Clarendon's essay on the decay of 
respect paid to age, he says that when young 
he never kept his hat on before those older 
than himself, except at dinner. He died in 
1674. It is well known that the English mem- 
bers of Parliament sit with their hats on during 
session, and the same practice prevailed at the 
early town meetings in New England. Thus 
do manners begin with the many rather than 
the few, and only hold their own longest amid 
the most exclusive circles. In the same way 
we may often see morality itself best exempli- 
fied in the manners of the many. 

Why, then, should it be the classes of so- 
called culture that set us the example of terror, 
as society develops year by year? The man 
supposed to occupy a humbler social position 
has no such feeling of alarm, — he sees his own 



298 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

organizations of workingmen enlarging; the 
rights of labor recognized ; legislature after 
legislature passing laws in his behalf. He saw, 
moreover, a year ago, the President of the na- 
tion chosen on the largest vote ever known, as 
the outcome of popularity and confidence. Had 
the dozen richest men in this country joined 
in a solemn pledge to defeat Mr. Roosevelt, 
we now see that they could not have done it. 
Surely, it cannot be this fact on which the 
cowardice of culture is based. The scholar, at 
least, cannot share this terror. It is rather for 
him, by wider training, to become a leader of 
men. 

It is a source of joy, not of peril, that every 
social sphere has its own standard of judg- 
ment, neither birth nor wealth nor knowledge 
nor virtue monopolizing this. A friend of 
mine, a Boston merchant, was being rowed on 
the Racquette River in the Adirondacks by a 
guide who had been highly recommended to 
him, but who proved very silent. At last the 
oarsman found a tongue, and said casually 
to his passenger, " Do you know Jimmie 
Lowell ? " Supposing this to be one of the 
boatmen on the lakes, my friend disclaimed 
all knowledge of such a personage. " I should 
think you would know him," returned the 
boatman with some surprise. " He teaches in 



THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 299 

Harvard College, and writes poetry and such 
things." "Ah, indeed," said my friend, sur- 
prised. " I know Professor Lowell, and^ have 
known him for many years." " Do you ? " 
said the guide, and then fell back into silence, 
which was broken by the remark, some ten 
minutes later, " Ignorant cuss, ain't he ? " It 
appeared that he had rowed Lowell on that 
same river for some hours, earlier in the pre- 
vious season, keeping always on the sunny 
side, and that Lowell pleaded with him to row 
over to the shady side, for it never occurred to 
him that a boatman must consider the current, 
not the shade. The different standard in tastes 
and faculties will never be determined by 
money only. 

Still less, at least in America, will it be con- 
trolled by birth. Long before I had ever visited 
England, I was driving a young Englishwoman 
of rank, daughter of a baron and daughter-in- 
law of an earl, to visit the old abode of Dean 
Berkeley in the vicinity of Newport. I naturally 
improved the opportunity to learn something 
of the ways of high life in another country, 
and asked the question, which had often oc- 
curred to me, whether the best English society 
was not liable to be made monotonous by 
being largely filled up by birth alone, thus 
losing something of the wholesome variety of 



300 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

American life. This she answered in the nega- 
tive, on the ground that the very abundance 
of families of the higher grade made it im- 
possible to receive them all at any one time; 
and in making a selection, it was easy to in- 
vite guests or friends who had no social rank 
whatever, but perhaps turned out the wittiest 
or most agreeable of the whole company. On 
the other hand, she said, there were families 
of the very highest grade who lived almost 
wholly at their country-seats, rarely came up 
to London for any length of time, and then 
were passed by. " I know lots of dukes* daugh- 
ters," she carelessly said, "who get scarcely 
any attention." She was herself, at that time, 
very young; she came to this country largely 
to visit Vassar College, then a novelty; and 
made so hearty an acquaintance with American 
reformers that she named her daughter, born 
after her return from America, Lucretia Mott; 
she was, moreover, a most entertaining com- 
panion, and did not hesitate to tell an Ameri- 
can hostess, when needful, that any particular 
dish on the table was " nasty," or any insuffi- 
cient argument used by the host was " bosh." 
Mere birth, like mere wealth, fails to make even 
the manners infallible. 

If all the scholar's education in a republic 
gives him no infallible advantage over the man 




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THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 301 

who cannot read or write, let the scholar have 
the manliness not to whine over the results 
of his own inefficiency. How absurd would be 
any artificial system of equalization, such as we 
sometimes see gravely urged, which should give 
to the day laborer one vote, to the school-teacher 
two, to the lawyer or editor three, and to the 
author of a treatise on the United States Con- 
stitution ten ! Natural laws provide much bet- 
ter for the end desired; the education of the 
editor, the lawyer, the teacher, should enable 
him to carry dozens of less educated votes at 
his belt, as an Indian carries scalps. It is he 
who writes the editorials, he who makes the 
speeches ; all the machinery of conviction, for 
good or for evil, is intrusted to his hands. The 
political committee-man is the quartermaster of 
the regiment ; he attends to the supplies and the 
encampment, and if he neglects his duty, the 
work is ill done. Eating is essential to fighting, 
in the long run ; but eating can never take the 
place of fighting; and the tone of the political 
campaign must be given by those who actually 
contend. " The glory of universal suffrage," 
said Louis Blanc to me once, " is in the power 
it gives to intellectual leaders ; a man of trained 
intellect really throws not one vote only, but a 
thousand." 

All this being true, the nation has surely the 



302 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

right to demand of its educated men that they 
should not evade and apologize, but should 
show some faith, not only in their principles, 
but in their training and in themselves. Robes- 
pierre said that power without virtue was crime, 
but that virtue without power was weakness. 
Power naturally demands its own exercise, has 
faith in itself, and claims success, not by in- 
trigue or manoeuvre, but by manly self-asser- 
tion and having eyes to discover every open 
door. The hand of the ignorant man puts in the 
ballot, but it is the tongue of the educated man 
which guides him, first or last. If this is not 
accomplished, it is for want of force. After all, 
eloquence simply represents force, something 
to say, and the fewest words possible to say it 
in. Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg and John 
Brown's at the scaffold are still our high-water 
mark of American eloquence, though England 
perhaps rivals them in Lord Chatham's "Amer- 
ica has resisted. I rejoice, my lords ! " a pas- 
sage which was pronounced by the great Irish 
orator Grattan to be equal to anything in De- 
mosthenes. 

If, now, the strength of society lies more, 
after all, in the many than in the few, and if 
that multitude is best stirred by individual 
leadership, and if that leadership is found best 
in the best educated, why should the prospects 




COLONEL GEORGE E. WARING 



THE COWARDICE OF CULTURE 303 

of the world be formidable ? The history of all 
great reforms points this way, but let me draw 
my moral from what might at first be called 
a minor instance. It seems but a little while 
since I was called to the door of my lodging- 
house at Newport to meet, as it seemed to me, 
the very handsomest and most prepossessing 
man who ever stood on a doorstep. It was 
just at the end of the Civil War, and he had 
been discharged, with the cavalry regiment 
which he had commanded, from Fremont's 
Mountain Department, and was about to es- 
tablish a large market-garden near Newport. 
It ended in his getting such prices for his 
butter as Newport had never before heard of, 
and this was done by one who, as a frank and 
manly social favorite, went everywhere, and 
was equally popular with men and women. It 
mattered little to him whether he drove up in 
his market wagon to the back door of some 
stately house to settle with the housekeeper 
some question of new-made butter, or rode 
upon his fine Kentucky race-horse in the after- 
noon to make a party call upon the mistress 
of the estate. By and by, he developed wholly 
new theories of drainage, and turned his at- 
tention to that perplexing problem, taking con- 
tracts in that direction more and more widely. 
Meantime the great city of New York, with 



304 PART OF A MAN'S LIFE 

which he was well acquainted, was beginning 
to struggle with a problem akin to drainage, 
the cleansing of its streets. In a happy hour, 
he was called there, and undertook with de- 
light something in which everybody else had 
failed. As a first stroke, he proceeded, amid 
universal derision, to clothe in a white uniform 
his whole corps of street-cleaners, and it was not 
until he had driven into disappearance the vast 
legion of piled-up barrels and tilted carts which 
had collected the dirt of every street by night, 
and had marched his white-clad workmen in 
military order down Broadway by day, that all 
New York waked to the discovery that it had 
found a master, and that his name was George 
Waring. Thus does every reform lie latent in 
the public mind until that public finds a 
leader ; one of whom it can be said, as Carlyle 
said of Scott, that "when he departed, he took 
a Man's life with him." 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Abolitionists, American, the, 
meetings of, 17-19; on negro, 119; 
also, 21, 115, 117, 128. 

Adams, President John, 285, 289. 

Adams, President J. Q., 276. 

Adams, Samuel, 285. 

iEschylus, 162. 

Agassiz, Louis, on insects, 189 ; also, 
27, 105, 129, 276. 

Alcott, A. B., 4, 23, 25 ; character, 
14, 15. 

Alcott, Louisa, 31. 

Allibone, S. A., 173. 

Alsop, Richard, 175. 

Ames, Fisher, 289. 

Andersen, Hans Christian, 42. 

Andrew, Gov. J. A., 122. 

Andrews, Jane, 282. 

Andros, Governor, 294. 

Archer, William, 67. 

Aristocracy of the Dollar, the, 93. 

Aristophanes, 163. 

Arnold, Matthew, sadness of, 24 ; on 
the English, 50 ; on learning, 159. 

Arnold, Dr. Thomas, 206. 

Association of Western Literary So- 
cieties, jj. 

Astor, J. J., 99. 

Atlantic Monthly, the, 73. 

Audiences, English and American, 

73- 
Augustine, St., quoted, 168-170. 
Austin, Mrs. Sarah, 166. 

Bacon, Lord, 49. 

Bailey, P. J., 226, 238. 

Balzac, Honor6 de, 164. 

Bancroft, George, 9. 

Barbauld, Mrs., 210. 

Bayley, T. H., 199. 

Beaconsfield, Lord, 206, 232. 

Beck, Prof. Charles, 9. 

Beecher, Rev. H. W., 80, 82. 

Behmen, Jacob, books of, "71-173. 

Bentzon, Th., 248. 

Berkeley, Dean, 299. 

Birney, J. G., 115. 

Black, William, 246. 

Blake, H. G. 0., 23. 



Blanc, Louis, 301. 

Bland, J., book of, 173-175. 

Blessington, Lady, 54. 

Bodley, J. E. C, 96, 112. 

Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon, 116. 

Bonaparte, Napoleon, 34, 132, 

Books unread, 155. 

Boston Court House, 15. 

Boswell, James, 93. 

Bowen, Prof. Francis, 10. 

Bradley, Mary E., 187. 

Breck, Samuel, describes early modes 

of travel, 74-76. 
Brentano, Bettine, 44. 
Bronte, the sisters, 34. 
Brook Farm Community, formation 

of, 4; close, 5 ; George Ripley aids, 

7 ; Emerson on, 12 ; also, 8, 13, 14, 

22. 
Brooks, Rev. C. T., 7. 
Brown, Henry Box, 18. 
Brown, Capt. John, 15, 16, 302. 
Brown, Dr. John, 26. 
Browne, Sir Thomas, 164. 
Browning, Robert, 25, 84, 85. 
Bruce, R. C, 130. 
Brunson, William, letter of, 152. 
Bryant, W. C, on butterflies, 184, 

185. 
Buffalo Bill, 71. 

Bullivant, Attorney-General, 284. 
Burns, Anthony, 15. 
Burns, Robert, 5. 
Butterflies in Poetry, 179. 

Cabot, George, 293. 

Canning, George, 217. 

Carlyle, Thomas, on Emerson, 2; 

on Ripley, 12 ; on Tennyson, 225 ; 

also, 6, 7 23, 24, 305. 
Catullus, 162. 
Cave C. <y. 

Channin'g, Rev. W. E., 8, 115. 
Channing, Rev. W. H., 4. 
Chapin, Rev. E. H., 82. 
Chaplin, Baltimore, letter of, 151, 152. 
Chapman, Mrs. Maria W., 18, 20. 
Charles II, King of England, 56* 
Chatham, Lord, 32, 302. 



308 



INDEX 



Chaucer, Geoffrey, English of, 


64; 


English and American Cousins, 48. 


also, 200. 




Epictetus, 159. 

Everett, Edward, on English and 


Child and his Dreams, the, 25. 




Choate, Rufus, on slavery, 124, 


125; 


German universities, 9 ; also, 86. 


also, 82, 177, 286. 






Cibber, Colley, 31. 




Falk, P. L. A., 166. 


Cincinnati, Society of the, 98. 




Felton, President C. C, 10. 


Clarendon, Lord, 297. 




Fichte, J. W., 6. 


Clemens, S. L., 106, 296. 




Fielding, Henry, 157. 


Clement XIV, Pope, on St. Augus- 


FitzGerald, Edward, 163. 


tine, 169. 




Fitzgerald, R. U. P., 57. 


Cleopatra, 28. 




Flaxman, John, 278. 


Cogswell, J. G., 9. 




Fleming, John, 26, 207. 


Coleridge, Hartley, described, 


205; 


Fleming, Marjorie, 26, 40. 


also, 204, 215. 




Fleming, Patrick, 26. 


Coleridge, S. T., described, 205 ; 


also, 


Follen, Rev. Charles, 9, 119. 


5, 2ii, 217, 283. 




Folsom, Abby, 19. 


Coleridge, Sarah, 182. 




Fourier, F. C. M., 162. 


Congress, United States, 77. 




Fox, C. J., 157. 


Conway, M. D., 240. 




Fremont, Gen. J. C, 305. 


Coolbrith, Ina D., 192. 




Froude, J. A., on America, 50 ; also, 


Cotton, Rev. John, 279. 




2 4, 55- 


Cousin, Victor, 6. 




Fuller, Margaret. See Ossoli. 


Cowardice of Culture, The, 288. 






Craft, Ellen, 18, 121. 




Garrison, W. L., 17, 19, 20, 115. 


Craft, William, 18. 




George III, King of England, 167. 


Curtis, B. R., 82, 83. 




Gibbon, Edward, 141, 156, 158. 


Curtis, G. W., at Brook Farm 


l 3> 


Gilmore, Gen. Q. A., 151. 


also, 282, 288. 




Gleim, J. W. L., 166. 


Cushing, J. P., 99. 




Goethe, J. F. W. von, 7, 102, 166, 

167. 
Goethe, the elder, 102. 


Dalgleish, W. 0., 57. 




Dall, Mrs. C. H. A., 12. 




Gosse, Edmund, 185. 


Dana, C. A., at Brook Farm, 13 




Gough, J. B., 80, 81. 


Dana, R. H., lecturing, 83. 




Gould, Dr. B. A., 129. 


Dare, Gideon, 220. 




Grant-Duff, Sir M. E., 198. 


Darwin, Charles, on butterflies, 


183; 


Gray, Prof. Asa, 189. 


also, 40, 42, 227. 




Gray, Thomas, 115,208, 221. 


Dennie, Joseph, 6. 




Greaves, J. P., 15. 


De Quincey, Thomas, described, 


205; 


Greeley, Horace, 11, 21, 22, 88, 246. 


also, 204, 215, 216, 224. 




Gridley, Jeremiah, 285. 


De Vere, Aubrey, 226, 233. 




Grimke" sisters, the, 115. 


Dickens, Charles, 109. 




Griswold, R. W., 22, 23. 


Dickinson, Anna, 80. 




Guards, British Grenadier, incident 


Dobson, Austin, 184. 




of, 61. 


Douet, Bishop, on colored race in 


Gunby, A. A., 123. 


Jamaica, 126, 127. 




Guthrie, Rev. Dr., 275. 


Douglass, Frederick, and Rynders, 




20; also, 19, 82, 129. 




Hale, J. P., 82. 


Dwight, J. S., 14. 




Hall, Capt. Basil, 107. 
Hamilton, Alexander, 288. 


Eastlake, Lady, 57, 175. 




Hamilton, Captain, 291. 


Ellis, A. J., 240. 




Hamilton, Sir William, 229, 


Emerson, R. W., his hundredth birth- 


Hardenberg, Friedrich von (Nova- 


day, 2; on Brook Farm, 12 


; on 


lis), 7. 


England, 69 ; also, 4, 8, 15, 2 


h73> 


Hardy, Thomas, 24. 


78, 79, 82, Io8. 




Harris, T. W. ; 179, 181, 184. 



INDEX 



309 



Harvard University, 6, 9, 10, 49, 98. 


Lamb, Charles, 30, 165, 211, 217. 


Haven, G. W., 166. 


Landor, W. S., 54, 230, 231. 


Hawthorne, Julian, 257. 


Lavater, J. K., 166. 


Hawthorne, Nathaniel, on Brook 


Lechford, Thomas, 285. 


Farm, 13 ; also, 4, 25, 283. 


Lee, Eliza B., 7. 


Hawthorne, Una, 25, 249. 


Leech, John, 45. 


Haydon, B. R., 71. 


Lehmann, R. C, on English and 


Hazard, Robert, 97. 


American schoolboys, 51. 


Hazlitt, William, 163, 168, 206. 
Hedge, Rev. F. H., 8. 


Leland, C. G., 246. 


Letters of Mark, 139. 


Hegel, G. F., 6. 


Lewthwaite, Barbara, 210. 


Heine, Heinrich, on slavery, 119; 


Lieber, Francis, 9, 119. 


rank, 167 ; also, 7, 46, 60, 166. 


Lincoln, President Abraham, 302. 


Heneage, E., 57. 


Linnaeus, Carolus, 181. 


Henley, W. E., 24. 


Locke, John, 3. 


Herder, J. G. von, 166. 


Lockhart, J. G., 217. 


Hickes, Rev. George, 64. 


Lodge, H. C, 68. 


Higginson, Miss A. S., 258. 


Long, Corporal, 1^5. 


Higginson, Stephen, 293. 


Longfellow, Prof.' H. W., 1, 25, 58, 


Hirsch, 161. 


164. 


History in Easy Lessons, 271. 


Lowell, Prof. J. R., names Words- 


Hoffmann, E. T. A., 7. 


worthshire, 203 ; also, 25, 139, 283, 


Holmes, Dr. 0. W., 25, 82. 


299. 


Homer, 10, 156. 


Lundy, Benjamin, 115. 
Lyons, Lord, 49. 


Hook, Theodore, 49. 


Horace, 164. 




Houghton, Lord (see also Milnes, 


Mann, Horace, organizer of Lyceum 


R. M.), 226, 229. 


lectures, 78, 79 ; also, 273. 


House of Commons, British, 53. 


Mclver, Lewis, 57. 


House of Lords, British, 56, 69, 95 ; 


Mackaye, Percy, 185. 


compared with U. S. Senate, 58. 


Macready, W. C, 244. 


Howard, Bronson, 296. 


McKinley, President William, feeling 


Howells, W. D., 57, 296. 


shown at death of, 71, 72. 


Hughes, Thomas, 226, 236. 


Malcolm, Col., 57. 


Hugo, Victor, on insect world, 182. 


Marmontel, J. F., 106. 


Hume, David, 56. 


Maroon wars, 127. 


Humphreys, Col., 175. 


Marsh, G. P., 27. 


Hunt, Mrs. (see Jackson), 268. 


Martial, epigram of, 66. 




Martineau, Harriet, 292. 


"Intensely Human," 114. 


Mathews, Cornelius, 10, 11. 


Irving, Washington, 280. 


Maupassant, Guy de, 191. 




May, Ida, 122. 


Jackson, Francis, 129. 


Mellen, G. W. F., 19. 


Jackson, Mrs. Helen (Hunt), 268. 
James, Alice Archer, 200. 


Meredith, George, 24. 


Middleton, Conyers, 66. 


James I, King of England, 56. 


Milnes, R. M. See Houghton. 


James II, King of England, 294. 


Milton, John, 63. 


Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 93, 96, m, 


Moore, Thomas, 233. 


274,294. 


Moravians, the, 4. 


Jouffroy, T. S., 6. 


Morris, Gouverneur, 288. 


Jowett, Dr. Benjamin, 242. 


Mott, Lucretia, 300. 




Moulton, Louise Chandler, 193. 


Kant, Immanuel, 3, 6, 229. 




Keats, John, 33, 60, 185, 204, 230. 
Kent, Chancellor James, 290. 


Negro, the, General Saxton on, 114; 


criticised, 115; manhood, 117; 


King, Grace, 123. 


treatment in the North, 118, 119; 


Kossuth, Louis, 295. 


Abolitionists on, 119 ; in the South, 



3io 



INDEX 



120, 121 ; incident of, Hi, 122 ; 
morality, 123-125 ; in Jamaica, 
126, 127; faults, 127, 128; arm- 
ing, 130-132 ; stories of, 132, 133, 
135; musical quality, 133, 134; 
courage, 134 ; religious quality, 
135 ; enfranchisement, 136 ; let- 
ters, 137, 138, 151, 152. 

Newton, C. T., 245. 

New York Tribune, 22, 73. 

North, Christopher (John Wilson), 
described, 206. 

Norton, Prof. C. E., 233. 

Norton, Mrs. Caroline, 198. 

Novalis (see Hardenberg), 7. 

Orpheus, 30. 
O'Rell, Max, 70. 

Ossoli, Margaret Fuller ; early edu- 
cation, 11, 12; also, 4, 156. 

Palmer, W. T., 207. 

Parker, Rev. Theodore, lecturer, 85 ; 

on aristocracy of Cincinnati, 103 ; 

also, 14, 82, 85, 276. 
Parkman, Francis, 286. 
Pasquier, M., on French spelling, 65. 
Peat, A. B. N., on the Frenchman, 

116. 
Peirce, Prof. Benjamin, 161. 
Pepys, Samuel, 297. 
Phillips, Wendell, 18, 19, 82, 87, 128, 

276, 286. 
Piatt, Mrs. J. J., 186. 
Pierce, Rev. John, 286. 
Pilgrims, the, 95. 
Pindar, 162. 
Pio Nono, Pope, 178. 
Pitman, Sir Isaac, 240. 
Pitt, William, 56. 
Plato, 43. 
Poe, E. A., 10, 25. 
Pollock, Lady, 244. 
Pollock, Sir Frederick, 244. 
Pollock, W. H., 244. 
Pompadour, Marquise de, 184. 
Porter, Mrs., 30. 
Porter house, in R. I., 97. 
Praed, W. M., 160. 
Pusey, Rev. E. B., 168. 
Putnam, Rev. George, 8. 

Quincy, Edmund, 18, 128, 295. 

Radcliffe College, 84. 
Randolph, John, 295. 
Rankin, Rev. John, 115. 



Rawnsley, Canon, 213. 
Reid, Sir Wemyss, 230. 
Richardson, James, 293. 
Richardson, Samuel, 30. 
Richter, J. P. F. (Jean Paul), 7, 164. 
Ricketson, Daniel, 15. 
Rifle Rangers, the, 74. 
Ripley, George, character, 7 ; de- 
scribed, 12 ; on John Dwight, 14. 
Rogers, Samuel, 69, 70, 199, 229. 
Rollins, Mrs. Alice W., 281. 
Roosevelt, President Theodore, 298. 
Rousseau, J. J., 168. 
Ruskin, John, 24, 48, 91, 206, 222. 
Russell, Amelia, 22. 
Russell, Mrs. Thomas, 12. 
Rynders, Isaiah, 20, 21. 

Sainte-Beuve, C. A., 226. 

Salisbury, Lord, 56. 

Sanders, Prince, 126. 

Sawyer, Philetus, 103. 

Saxton, Maj. Gen. Rufus, 114, 137. 

Schiller, J. C. F. von, 7. 

Schleiermacher, F. E. D., 6. 

Schultze, Dr., 197. 

Scott, Sir Walter, 217, 223, 304. 

Scudder, S. H., on butterflies, 183 f 
also,i79, 197. 

Sedgwick, Catharine M., 290. 

Seward, Anna, 93. 

Shakespeare, William, 17, 21, 28, 29, 
33, 46, 64, 108, 143. 

Shaw, Col. R. G., 131. 

Shelley, P. B., 220, 221. 

Shelley, Mrs., 221. 

Sidney, Sir Philip, 33. 

Silver Grays, the corps of, 75. 

Simpson, Margaret, 216. 

Slaves, American, problem of, 114, 
117. 

Smith, Prof. Goldwin, 95. 

Smith, Prof. Henry, 243. 

Smith, Rev. Sydney, 278. 

Smith, W. M., 176. 

Solomons (violin player), 167. 

Southey, Robert, described, 205 ; 
also, 217, 218. 

Sparks, Jared, 46. 

" Spectator," the, on Birthday Hon- 
ors, 56. 

Spencer, Herbert, 226. 

Spenser, Edmund, 65. 

Stephen, Sir Leslie, 234. 

Stephen, Sir James, 242. 

Stepniak, S. M., 226. 

Stevenson, R. L., 24. 



INDEX 



3ii 



Stanhope, Lord, in. 

Stedman, E. C, 199. 

Steward, Emma, letters of, 137, 138. 

Steward, Solomon, 137. 

Story, Justice Joseph, 290. 

Story, W. W., 231. 

Streater, John, 172. 

Street, A. B., 199. 

Sumner, Charles, as lecturer, 86 ; 

also, 79,82, 128, 285. 
Sunny Side of the Transcendental 

Period, 1. 
Swift, Lindsay, on Brook Farm, 4, 

5,8. 
Swinburne, A. C, 41. 

Tabley, Lord de, 199. 
Talleyrand, Marquis de, 228. 
Taylor, Bayard, 82. 
Taylor, Father, 12. 
Tennyson, Alfred, 24, 55, 224, 232,234. 
Tennyson, C. T., 185. 
Thacher, Oxenbridge, 288. 
Thackeray, W. M., declines lecture, 

89 ; story of, in; also, 79. 
Thoreau, H. D., on a moth, 184 ; 

also, 16, 22, 23, 25. 
Thorold, Bishop, 139. 
Thumb, Tom ("General"), 7*- 
Ticknor, George, 9. 
Torbert, G. L., 77. 
Torrey, Prof. H. W., 285. 
Transcendental Period, the, defini- 
tion of, 3 : Brook Farm, 4, 5 ; 

"Disciples of Newness," 10, 11; 

members defined, 12 ; effect of, 

16, 17; 21. 
Tubman, Harriet, 18. 
Tudors, the, 59. 
Turenne, H. de L., 39. 
Turner, Nat., 118. 
Twain, Mark (see Clemens), 106. 
Tyndall, John, compares American 

and English audiences, 52. 

Ulysses, 29. 

United States Senate, compared with 

House of Lords, 58, 82. 
Urban IV, Pope, 102. 
Urquhart, David, 177. 

Vanderbilt, Commodore, 99. 
Varro, Terentius, 296. 



Vaugelas, 66. 

Venable, W. H., 244. 

Verdin, J., 57. 

Victoria, Queen, 37, 38, 296. 

Victorian Epoch, close of the, 226. 

Voiture, Vincent, 66. 

Voltaire, F. M. A. de, 287. 

Wade, Thomas, 191. 
Wales, Prince of, 126. 
Walker, David, his appeal, 116. 
Walpole, Horace, on his countrymen, 

60. 
Waring, G. E., 304. 
Warren, Dr. J. C, 8. 
Washington, Booker T., 128-130. 
Washington, George, 280. 
Webster, Daniel, 82. 
Webster, Noah, 66. 
Wellington, Duke of, 34, 61. 
Wells, H. G., on English student, 50, 

Wheeler, C. S., 6. 

Whipple, E. P., 82. 

Whiteing, R., 68. 

Whitman, Walt, on butterflies, 194- 
196 ; also, 2, 25, 164, 197. 

Whittier, J. G., and foreign countries, 
177; also, 25,58, 115. 

Whole World's Temperance Conven- 
tion, 81. 

Wieland, C. M., 166. 

Willegis, Bishop, 102. 

William IV, King of England, 56. 

Wilson, John, described, 206; also, 
216. (See also North, Christo- 
pher.) 

Woodhull, Mrs., 128. 

Wordsworth, Dorothy, 206, 211. 

Wordsworth, William, 6 ; centre of 
Lake District, 203, 204 ; described, 
204, 205; early days, 207; early 
poems, 208 ; also, 5, 6, 176, 199. 

Wordsworth, William (of Capri), 213. 

Wordsworth, Mrs., 206, 212. 

Wordsworthshire, 203. 

World's Temperance Convention, 



Yale University, 49, 98. 
Yerrington, J. M. W., 19. 

Xerxes, 288. 



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